zaterdag 9 januari 2010

Hamas niet antiglobalistisch genoeg voor Al Qaida

Dit is een van de redenen waarom Israel de grenzen met Gaza niet kan openen.
Al Qaeda and Hamas
It seems that if the Hamas are not linked directly to Al-Qaeda it is not for want of trying to form such a link. The rivalry witnessed in the Gaza strip is evidently not due to ideology, but to personal ambition of different leaderships.
Ami Isseroff
Haaretz / Last update - 21:29 08/01/2010       
Study: Gaza militants fall short trying for al-Qaida link
By Associated Press

Palestinian militant groups are moving closer to Al-Qaida, but Osama bin Laden's terror network has so far snubbed Hamas and its offshoots for infighting and failure to prove their global jihadist intentions, a study has found.
Al-Qaida has granted formal ties with insurgent organizations in Yemen and North Africa but does not yet appear to believe that Hamas and its splinter groups are sufficiently focused beyond Israel to the Western world, according to the study by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The study, obtained by The Associated Press, is scheduled for release next week. It suggests al-Qaida may be waiting patiently for a Gaza-based terror group to establish itself, perhaps by successfully executing an attack on a Western target.
Matthew Levitt, a co-author of the study, said about Gaza-based terror groups, "Al-Qaida likely remains unconvinced of the ideological commitment of groups like Jaish al-Islam. Al-Qaida may also have concerns about the survivability of such groups, including their susceptibility to infiltration by Israeli intelligence."
Levitt's co-author is Yoram Cohen, who until recently served as the deputy director of the Israel Security Agency, Shin Bet.
U.S. administrations have struggled but so far failed to broker an enduring deal in the six-decade old Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 and has since fired rockets into Israel regularly. A year ago, Israel struck back with an offensive that left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including many civilians. The Palestinian rockets have killed 13 Israelis.
Since the December 2008-January 2009 war, Gaza's Hamas rulers have gained strength but also have received sharp criticism from extremist operatives who have denounced the group's temporary cease-fires or truces with Israel and want the immediate implementation of Sharia, Islamic law, in Gaza.
According to the study, the rift between Hamas and its more formidable extremist offshoots - such as Jaish al-Umma, Jaish al-Islam and Jaish Ansar Allah - provides fertile ground for al-Qaida inspired terror. So far, however, the numbers are low, with about 200-300 militants in each group.
Small numbers of foreign fighters also slip into Gaza, including radicalized Europeans from France and Belgium along with militants from Egypt and Yemen.
Levitt and Cohen warn that the al-Qaida inspired groups in Gaza think big and are regularly plotting large-scale attacks against Israel.
Their capabilities could be enhanced if larger numbers of foreign fighters enter Gaza or if Palestinians who have fought abroad return there, the report says.
The report quotes one militant leader as saying, "We are waiting to carry out a big jihadist operation dedicated to bin Laden. If al-Qaida asks us to pledge allegiance to it, we are completely ready for it."

Spijtoptanten Al Aqsa Brigades keerden terug naar terreur

De link tussen Palestijns terrorisme en Iran wordt grotendeels genegeerd door zowel de media als politici die mooie oplossingen bedenken voor het conflict. Dit probleem speelt niet alleen wat betreft Hamas maar ook wat betreft Fatah.

The Jerusalem Post
Jan 8, 2010 2:38 | Updated Jan 8, 2010 5:49
Possible Fatah terror splinter group

The defense establishment is concerned that Iran and Hizbullah are gaining more influence over terrorist elements in the West Bank and are working to create a splinter and more radical Fatah terrorist group to carry out attacks on its behalf, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

One example was the shooting attack two weeks ago in the northern West Bank that killed Rabbi Meir Chai, a father of seven from Shavei Shomron. The attack did not take the IDF by surprise and senior Central Command sources told the Post this week that a drive-by shooting was raised as a potential scenario in assessments held just days before Chai was killed.

What took the IDF by surprise were the identities of the terrorists, all three of whom were killed by the army two days later in Nablus, on December 26.

They were former Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades operatives who were in their late 30s and early 40s, far older than the average Palestinian terrorist today. One of them had recently been released from an Israeli jail. Another had signed onto the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) pardon deal under which the IDF would not hunt him down if he ceased terror activity.

While all three had terror records, the IDF was puzzled what brought them back to engage in terrorism. The assessment now in the defense establishment is that they may represent a new radical faction within Fatah that is upset at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to reject violence and embrace diplomacy.

The concern is even greater considering that at the same time, Hizbullah and Iran are trying to establish terrorist cells in the West Bank to use for attacks against Israel. They are using money to recruit operatives.

Since the attack two weeks ago, the IDF has beefed up its patrols along West Bank roads, mostly in northern Samaria. In addition, it is erecting more random checkpoints along the roads.

"The idea is to drive the terrorists crazy," one senior officer explained. "One day there isn't a checkpoint and the next day it is there for several hours.

Meanwhile on Thursday, the Kerem Shalom cargo crossing into the Gaza Strip was closed after approximately 10 mortar shells were fired into southern Israel, several of them hitting within the crossing.

The Hamas-aligned Popular Resistance Committees took responsibility for the attacks, which came a day after the Defense Ministry successfully tested the Iron Dome missile system that will be deployed along the Gaza border by the middle of the year. Iron Dome is capable of intercepting Kassams, Katyushas and certain mortar shells.

Also on Thursday, the air force dropped several thousand leaflets on the Gaza Strip, warning residents not to come within 300 meters of the fence between Gaza and Israel and to avoid cooperating with terror operatives involved in the tunnel industry.

The leaflets contained a phone number and e-mail address for Gazans to report those involved in digging the smuggling tunnels to Sinai.

Regering Israel klaagt bij VS over opruiing door PA president en premier

Terwijl Israel continu de maat wordt genomen, is het Westen opvallend positief over de Palestijnse Autoriteit en president Abbas en premier Fayyad. Onderstaande Israelische kritiek is natuurlijk terecht, en het is ongelofelijk dat de VS daarover zwijgt en niets dan lof heeft voor de PA. Ook op het succes van de Palestijnse veiligheidsdiensten valt wel wat af te dingen. Men heeft de laatste tijd weliswaar succes tegenover met name Hamas, maar heeft de moord op een Israelische rabbijn niet voorkomen en de latere moordenaar ondanks een verzoek van Israël niet opgepakt.

The Jerusalem Post
Jan 8, 2010 2:19 | Updated Jan 8, 2010 7:18
Jerusalem fumes at Abbas and Fayyad

Israel has complained to the US administration that the Palestinian Authority's President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are engaging in incitement by honoring a woman responsible for the worst terrorist attack in Israel's history, and calling the men who killed Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai last month martyrs.

Israel's complaint came, ironically, shortly before US Middle East envoy George Mitchell heaped praise on Fayyad and Abbas Wednesday night during a US television interview.

Twice during the interview, on the Charlie Rose show, Mitchell called Fayyad an "impressive leader" and said that he and Abbas represented "strong and effective leadership for the Palestinian people."

Israel, in direct calls from the Prime Minister's Office to the White House and the State Department, has complained about both men.

The complaint against Abbas had to do with his sponsorship in late December of a ceremony celebrating the 50th birthday of Dalal Mughrabi, the terrorist who directed the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, the worst terrorist attack in the country's history, where gunmen hijacked a bus and murdered 37 people, including 10 children. Mughrabi was killed during the attack.

On her recent birthday, the governor of Ramallah named a town square after her. A huge banner at the ceremony read, "Under the auspices of President Mahmoud Abbas, The Political and National Education Authority Ceremony on the anniversary of the birth of the bride of the cosmos, the shahida [martyr] Dalal Mughrabi."

Israel's complaint against Fayyad stemmed from his visit to the families of the three slain terrorists suspected of killing Chai near Shavei Shomron three weeks ago. The three men were killed by IDF soldiers on a raid meant to apprehend them.

Fayyad, according to what Israel told the Americans, referred to the men as martyrs.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's policy director, Ron Dermer, said in response that "those Palestinian terrorists are murderers, not martyrs. We expect the PA to prepare the Palestinian people to live in peace with Israel and not glorify killers and name public squares after them."

Mitchell, in the TV interview, also heaped praise on the PA security apparatus, saying its security forces were "outstanding by any measure. The Israelis are very, very open in their praise of the effort that's been made on Palestinian security."

One senior Israeli diplomatic official, however, said that while the PA security apparatus has been effective in apprehending Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives, because this was in their interest, it has taken a much weaker approach against terrorists coming from within Fatah - such as the three men who killed Chai.

Gaza: beschietingen over en weer nemen toe

Een jaar na de Gaza Oorlog nemen de aanvallen over en weer toe, tot nu toe gelukkig met weinig slachtoffers. Hamas zelf houdt zich vooralsnog rustig, en is druk bezig met het binnensmokkelen van grotere raketten voor een toekomstige confrontatie. Ondertussen is in Israel het Iron Dome defensie systeem met succes getest, en kan het naar verwachting van de zomer operationeel worden. Met dit systeem worden inkomende raketten onderschept en vernietigd. Het enige nadeel is dat het erg duur is, dus voor echt grote aantallen raketten is het minder geschikt.

Last update - 22:54 08/01/2010       
Gaza militants fire 2 Qassam rockets into southern Israel
By Haaretz Service
Two Qassam rockets were fired from the Gaza strip into southern Israel on Friday evening.
Israeli media sources report that there was no injuries or damage caused by the rockets.
On Thursday, a Qassam launched at Israel exploded just south of Ashkelon, causing no casualties or damage. The rocket fire came at the heels of a barrage of mortar shells earlier in the day, with Gaza militants firing at least 10 shells into Israel, and an anti-tank missile being fired at Israel Defense Forces troops patrolling the border with Gaza.
On Wednesday, GOC Southern Command Yoav Galant warned Negev residents that the quiet Israel has recently experienced along the Gaza border may only be temporary, adding that the IDF was prepared to face tensions should they arise.
Galant also urged civilians in the Negev to "prepare themselves for another round of fighting."
Hamas had said it was cracking down on militant groups firing at Israel from the Gaza Strip, but communities in the Negev have been hit with rockets numerous times in the year since the IDF embarked on Operation Cast Lead.
Just last week, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility for firing two Russian-made Grad missiles from Gaza at southern Israel.
The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) also claimed responsibility for firing four mortar shells at Israeli army vehicles near the border the week before.

IDF Spokesperson
January 8th, 2010
In Response to Rocket and Mortar Shells Fired at Israel, IAF Struck Terrorist Facilities in the Gaza Strip

In response to the barrage of mortar shells and the Qassam rocket fired into Israel yesterday,  the Israel Air Force struck and identified hitting four targets in the Gaza Strip in a joint IDF-ISA operation. One terror tunnel in the central Gaza Strip and two smuggling tunnels in the Rafah Border area and one weapons-manufacturing facility in Gaza City were among the targets.

The terror tunnel was intended to be used for infiltration into Israeli territory in order to execute a terrorist attack against Israeli citizens or IDF soldiers. The tunnel was dug a kilometer away from the security fence.

More than 280 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel since the end of operation Cast Lead and more than 750 hit Israel in the whole of 2009. Throughout 2008, prior to Cast Lead, over 3300 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The IDF will not tolerate the firing of rockets by terrorist organizations at Israel and will continue to respond against any attempt to disrupt the calm in Israel's southern communities.

vrijdag 8 januari 2010

De houmous oorlog tussen Israel en Libanon

In het Midden-Oosten is er nu ook al ruzie om wie de houmous heeft uitgevonden, en wie de lekkerste en het meeste kan maken.
Lebanon and Israel have officially been at war for six decades. Three months ago, when the Lebanese chefs prepared their record-breaking dish, they called it a move to reaffirm ownership of a Lebanese food they claimed had been appropriated by Israelis.
Inmiddels heeft Israel het record weer verbroken, maar dat zal Libanon zeker niet op zich laten zitten.
Many in the Arab world see Israel as a Western implant in the region, though a majority of Israel's population is of Middle Eastern and North African descent. The chefs responsible for Friday's record were from the country's one-fifth Arab minority.
En de meesten in de Arabische wereld zien Israel als de oorzaak van al hun ellende en problemen, en wijten Israels succes - op welk gebied dan ook - aan kolonialisme en het stelen van land, olijfbomen, huizen, dorpen, en zelfs houmous van de Arabieren. Competitie is gezond, zo zei de Israelische record winnaar, zelf een Arabier, maar dit is helaas meer dan competitie. Als het conflict echter tot houmous beperkt kon blijven, was dat nog niet zo'n probleem. Het Israelische record heeft in ieder geval Joden en Arabieren in Israel voor even verenigd:
Hundreds of jubilant Israelis, a mix of Arabs and Jews, gathered around the giant dish in the village of Abu Ghosh, many of them dancing as a singer performed an Arabic love song to the beige chickpea paste.
The Jerusalem Post
Jan 8, 2010 18:14 | Updated Jan 8, 2010 18:17
Israel doubles Lebanon's hummus record

Israel took the upper hand in a new kind of Mideast conflict on Friday afternoon - one in which bullets were replaced by chickpeas.

Using a satellite dish on loan from a nearby broadcast station, cooks in an Arab village near Jerusalem whipped up more than four metric tons of hummus, the chickpea paste that is a staple - and a near-religious obsession - for many in the Middle East.

The cooks doubled the previous record for the world's biggest serving of hummus, set in October by cooks in Lebanon. That record broke an earlier Israeli record and briefly put Lebanon ahead.

Hundreds of jubilant Israelis, a mix of Arabs and Jews, gathered around the giant dish in the village of Abu Ghosh, many of them dancing as a singer performed an Arabic love song to the beige chickpea paste.

Just after midday, an adjudicator sent from London by Guinness World Records, Jack Brockbank, confirmed that the Israeli chefs now held the record. He put the exact amount of hummus in the giant dish at 4,090 kilograms.

Lebanon and Israel have officially been at war for six decades. Three months ago, when the Lebanese chefs prepared their record-breaking dish, they called it a move to reaffirm ownership of a Lebanese food they claimed had been appropriated by Israelis.

"Lebanon is trying to win a battle against Israel by registering this new Guinness World Record and telling the whole world that hummus is a Lebanese product, it's part of our traditions," said Fady Jreissati, the Lebanese organizer, said at the time.

The driving force behind the Israeli hummus dish, Jawdat Ibrahim, an Israeli Arab restaurateur who became a millionaire after winning a lottery in the US, played down the conflict, saying "competition is a healthy thing."

"Today we have the hummus. Hopefully, we will have the talks for peace in our region," he said.

The hummus war has been simmering for some time. In 2008, a group of Lebanese businessmen announced plans to sue Israel to stop it from marketing hummus and other regional dishes as Israeli.
Lebanese tourism minister Fadi Abboud told The Associated Press that his country plans to beat the new record in the spring with an even bigger plate of hummus prepared on the border with Israel. "This way they can learn how to do hummus," he said.

"We have no objection that other people do hummus but they should know that it is Lebanese. They (Israelis) should find a name other than hummus because this is a Lebanese name," Abboud said.

Many in the Arab world see Israel as a Western implant in the region, though a majority of Israel's population is of Middle Eastern and North African descent. The chefs responsible for Friday's record were from the country's one-fifth Arab minority.

Israel launched two major military operations against Lebanon, targeting guerrillas threatening Israel's northern border, in 1982 and in 2006. Both campaigns left widespread devastation in Lebanon.

On Friday, a newscaster on Israel's Army Radio referred to the hummus clash as the "third Lebanon war."

Na 100 jaar is de kibboetz beweging helemaal veranderd

"The really interesting news is that a number of kibbutzim decided not to privatize," Elisha Shapira, the coordinator of the cooperative branch in the kibbutz movement, said. "I don't want to prophesize, but it may be the beginning of a sobering up."
More and more members understand that going from cooperative to differentiated harms the majority of them, and benefits only a select few. When you take a society that used to be equal and you let it run by market rules, it's self-evident that a minority is going to move up and the majority is going to move down," Shapira said. "When privatization begins, the member suddenly gets a lot more cash in hand, so he thinks things just got better - but then he gets the bills for health insurance, education, transportation and other fairly basic services. The kibbutz member then realizes his condition actually worsened."
Bij de kibboetsim die wij in Israel hebben bezocht, kregen we een wat ander verhaal te horen. Vooral de jongeren zouden het oude gemeenschappelijke model niet meer zien zitten, waarbij privé bezit zeer beperkt was, mensen geen eigen auto's hadden, hun huis kregen toegewezen op grond van objectieve criteria, de kinderen gemeenschappelijk werden opgevoed en de kibboets besliste welke jongeren kunnen studeren. (De gemeenschappelijke opvoeding komt denken we nergens meer voor.) Het is een levensstijl die in veel opzichten haaks staat op het huidige individualisme en nadruk op eigen persoonlijke keuzes en verantwoordelijkheid. Bovendien werkt een aanzienlijk deel van de kibboetsbewoners niet meer op de kibboets, maar gewoon in de stad, en zij zijn niet bereid hun gehele salaris aan de kibboets af te staan terwijl hun collega's er leuke dingen mee doen.
Het feit dat nog een kwart van de kibboetsiem volgens het oude model werkt valt ons 100% mee, maar wat uit onderstaand artikel niet duidelijk wordt is of ook mensen die buiten de kibboets werken hun gehele salaris moeten afstaan en hetzelfde bedrag ontvangen.
Ratna & Wouter

After 100 years, the kibbutz movement has completely changed
By Eli Ashkenazi
As the kibbutz movement marks it centenary, it seems little resemblance to the ideals which once motivated it remain. Only a quarter of kibbutzim still function as equalized cooperatives, while the rest have begun paying salaries to their members, a study by Haifa University's Institute for the Research on the Kibbutz and the Cooperative Idea has shown. Even Deganya Aleph, Israel's first kibbutz, is now operating on the privatized model.
Another survey conducted this year found that 70 percent of all kibbutz members receive monthly salaries of less than NIS 7,000, while 11 percent receive salaries of over NIS 12,000. One hundred eighty-eight kibbutzim (72 percent) are run according to the "new kibbutz" privatization model, which includes differentiated salaries for members; 65 kibbutzim (25 percent) are communally run; and nine kibbutzim (3 percent) are run as "integrated" kibbutzim.
A communal kibbutz is one in which there is no relationship between the work a member carries out and the budget he receives; in other words, everyone is paid the same amount. The integrated model combines a basic budget equally distributed among all members along with a percentage of each member's salary. A "renewed kibbutz," the privatized model most popular today, replaces the budget with regular salaries from work and other income sources specific to each individual member. The privatized kibbutz retains joint ownership of the kibbutz instruments of production and other assets, along with a "safety net" for health insurance, pension, education and supporting members with special needs.
From 2007 to 2008, 14 kibbutzim were privatized; only five were privatized between 2008 and 2009. In a number of kibbutzim, the privatization process failed after most members chose to retain the traditional cooperative model.
"The really interesting news is that a number of kibbutzim decided not to privatize," Elisha Shapira, the coordinator of the cooperative branch in the kibbutz movement, said. "I don't want to prophesize, but it may be the beginning of a sobering up."
More and more members understand that going from cooperative to differentiated harms the majority of them, and benefits only a select few. When you take a society that used to be equal and you let it run by market rules, it's self-evident that a minority is going to move up and the majority is going to move down," Shapira said. "When privatization begins, the member suddenly gets a lot more cash in hand, so he thinks things just got better - but then he gets the bills for health insurance, education, transportation and other fairly basic services. The kibbutz member then realizes his condition actually worsened."
However, the director of the research institute, Dr. Shlomo Getz said it was too soon to tell. "We shouldn't conclude that the privatization process has been stalled because in 2009 [only] two communal kibbutzim and three integrated kibbutzim adopted the privatized model. Twelve more communal and three integrated kibbutzim are already discussing changing their administration model."
The great challenge before kibbutzim today is the image of the kibbutz as we emerge from a two-decade long economic and social crisis," said Ze'ev Shor, secretary of the Kibbutz Movement. "Most of the movement fared well through the crisis. All the kibbutzim are now economically stable and their [children] are coming home. Twenty-five hundred new members joined kibbutzim in recent years, 60 percent of them returning kibbutz members."
There have been great changes to the kibbutz way of life during the crisis, but even those kibbutzim operating privatized salaries, products and certain services still retain the solidarity and mutual assistance that is the DNA of the kibbutz," Shor said.

Een jaar na de Gaza Oorlog - de leugens gaan door

Onderstaande informatie ontbreekt nog steeds volledig in de berichtgeving over Gaza, waarin bijvoorbeeld steevast van '1400 doden, waarvan meest burgers', wordt gesproken. Deze informatie komt van Palestijnse organisaties zoals het Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).  
Elder of Ziyon heeft aangetoond dat honderden zogenaamde burgerdoden in feite strijders van diverse groeperingen zijn.
Hier staat meer informatie en uitleg.
In totaal zijn 353 strijders geidentificeerd die het Palesitjnse PCHR als burgers op haar dodenlijst van de Gaza Oorlog heeft staan. Deze gegevens (van het PCHR) zijn gebruikt in het Goldstone rapport en door de media, meestal zonder daar het veel lagere aantal slachtoffers dat volgens het Israelische leger is gevallen tegenover te zetten.
Zie hier een video over het gebruik voor Hamas van menselijke schilden, iets waarvan Goldstone en mensenrechtenorganisaties zeggen geen bewijzen te hebben gevonden.
Verwijs naar deze infomatie, stuur het rond en naar kranten, etc. etc.

Hoe arm is de Gazastrook?

Elder of Ziyon wijst erop dat de Gazastrook helemaal niet zo arm is als je zou verwachten op grond van de berichtgeving. Per jaar gaat er twee miljard naar de Gazastrook. Dat is het jaarlijkse budget van Hamas plus het geld van de Palestijnse Autoriteit dat naar werknemers in Gaza gaat. Daar zou je eigenlijk het geld van de UNRWA en andere NGO's nog bij op moeten tellen, waardoor het bedrag nog een stuk hoger zal uitvallen. Ook worden een aantal faciliteiten zoals scholen en andere publieke voorzieningen door de VN verzorgd.
We hebben hier al eerder foto's getoond van volle winkels in Gaza. Ook hebben we erop gewezen dat het aantal goederen dat Israel doorlaat met 900% is gestegen in 2009. Ook staat Israel de export van aardbeien en bloemen toe. Toch blijven antizionisten Gaza vergelijken met het getto van Warschau, of een concentratiekamp. Los van het feit dat de Joden aldaar geen duizenden raketten op Warschau hadden afgevuurd en niet opriepen tot de vernietiging van Polen, is de vergelijking totaal absurd. Het laat het morele bankroet zien van het antizionisme en de totaal doorgedraaide kritiek op Israel.

Gaza's $2 billion a year budget

From AP:

Gaza's Hamas parliament approved a government budget of $540 million for 2010, legislators said Saturday, suggesting that a tight border blockade isn't stopping the cash flow to the Islamic militants.

Up to $60 million stems from local taxes and the rest from "gifts and outside assistance," said legislator Jamal Nassar. Iran is believed to be one of Hamas' main financial backers, with cash assistance hauled through smuggling tunnels under Gaza's border with Egypt.

...The Abbas government's budget for 2009 was $2.78 billion, funded in large part by foreign aid. Abbas' Palestinian Authority continues to pay the salaries for tens of thousands of Gaza civil servants and security officers who were sent home after the Hamas takeover. It also pays for fuel to run Gaza's power plant and supports hospitals and schools.

The Hamas government is also relieved of much responsibility because the United Nations runs dozens of schools, health clinics and gives food aid to around 1 million Gazans.
So Hamas has a budget of over a half billion dollars, mostly from Iran.

But we already know from numerous statements by Mahmoud Abbas that 58% of the PA budget goes to...Gaza.

That means that poor, impoverished Gaza is getting over $2 billion annually, not counting the money and other aid it gets from UNRWA and other NGOs.

And Hamas' hundreds of millions are free for buying weapons because they have never taken financial responsibility for the actual running of Gaza's infrastructure. The West still does that via the PA.

I wonder if those people who claim they hate Israel because it is a drain on their tax dollars are equally concerned with Gaza?

Viva Palestina konvooi komt Gaza binnen na rellen aan de Egyptische grens

De hoeveelheid en aantal soorten goederen dat Israel doorlaat naar Gaza zijn het afgelopen jaar drastisch toegenomen, en bloemen en aardbeien kunnen worden geëxporteerd. Producten die niet worden toegelaten, zoals bouwmaterialen en luxe goederen, komen binnen via de duizend tunnels.
"Viva Palestina" steunt Hamas met haar acties, en is daarom geen progressieve beweging bestaande uit vredesactivisten, maar een reactionaire beweging die een misdadig regime steunt.

Following clashes, Viva Palestina convoy enters Gaza

Gaza - Ma'an - Medical aid and 518 activists entered Gaza Wednesday night after protests against the Egyptian government refusal to admit 400 of the group lead to clashes along the divided border town.

An Egyptian soldier was shot dead during the clashes, Egyptian state television reported, and at least 12 Palestinians were injured during a a demonstration against perceived Egyptian complicity in an Israeli-led blockade called by the de facto government of the Strip as they denounced what they said were attacks on the Viva Palestina convoy.

Following the demonstration, some 50 people broke away from the crowd of hundreds, pelting Egyptian troops with stones.

The soldiers opened fire on the crowd, wounding two people, according to medics. Ten people were also hurt in a stampede of protesters fleeing the gunfire. Ambulances raced to the scene to retrieve the wounded.

A Ma'an reporter saw Hamas security officers moving in on pickup trucks, forming a cordon in between the protesters and the border. The officers ordered the protesters to disperse through loudspeakers, warning that provocateurs were trying to escalate the protest into a clash with Egypt.

Egyptian security sources told Ma'an in Al-Arish that a state of alert was declared on the border, and hundreds of troops were sent to the area known as Salah Ad-Din.

Activists, Medical Aid enter Gaza

Despite the violence, Egyptian officials opened the Rafah border for the convoy, allowing dozens of vehicles, activists and medical aid into the Gaza Strip. Organizers said in a statement following the entry that the group was met by large crowds.

The 220 trucks and ambulances, filled with tons of medical aid, will be handed over to Gaza hospitals. Convoy spokeswoman Alice Howard said the convoy members were given 48-hour permits for Gaza.

Egypt-Convoy tension

On Tuesday night more than 50 international activists were wounded in clashes with riot police in the Egyptian port town of Al-Arish, some 40 kilometers from Gaza. Police threw stones and trained water cannons on more than 500 members of the Viva Palestina convoy, including British MP George Galloway.

Members of the convoy said they blocked the entrance to the Al-Arish port when the Egyptian government demanded that some vehicles of the convoy enter Gaza through an Israeli checkpoint.

British MP George Galloway, who was travelling with the convoy, said Israel was likely to block the shipment of aid.

"It is completely unconscionable that 25% of our convoy should go to Israel and never arrive in Gaza," Galloway told Reuters news agency.

Hamas angrily denounced the violence. "This attack shows that there is no Egyptian will to end blockade or even deliver aid to the besieged people in the Gaza Strip," movement spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.

Israel sealed its borders with Gaza following Hamas' June 2007 takeover of the territory, causing shortages of vital goods, including fuel and all but 36 types of food items. Gaza's 1.5 million residents are also largely banned from travelling.

Egypt has come under fire recently for playing a role in the blockade, including building a steel wall along its border with Gaza to cut off smuggling tunnels dug to import goods made scarce by the siege. The wall has also strained relations between Hamas and Egypt.

Egypt however dismissed Hamas' criticism on Tuesday.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Husam Zaki said Fawzi Barhoum's comments "were sarcastic."

He told the London-based Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, "Barhoum's comments about Egyptian security violating sovereignty of 40 countries who have representatives in the Lifeline convoy mean that Barhoum has no idea about the meaning of sovereignty, and if he has any idea, I herby tell him that Egypt's sovereignty is above all."

"Does sovereignty mean demolishing the main gate of Al-Arish terminal? Or does it mean damaging platforms to use the tiles as stones to pelt them at Egyptian security?" Zaki said.

He added, "I am sure that if Egyptian authorities had allowed entry of the fancy private cars which are part of the convoy, he would have changed his mind. If these cars which will eventually serve the upper class in Gaza were allowed, he wouldn't have said what he said."

Hezbollah kwaad over Hamas training in Libanon

Er is blijkbaar behoorlijk wat samenwerking als Hamas in Libanon traint, en daar blijkbaar ook gebouwen bezit en kantoor houdt. Vreemd dat we over dit soort dingen zo zelden lezen, net als over de steun van Hezbollah aan diverse Palestijnse gewapende groeperingen, die men aanzet tot het plegen van aanslagen op Israelische doelen.

Hizbullah upset over Hamas training in Lebanon
Published 5 January 2010

Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Hizbullah communicated "deep disappointment" to Hamas leadership over the discovery that the party was conducting military drills in a residential building in Lebanon without the party's knowledge, the country's An-Nahar newspaper reported Wednesday.

Information around the training was uncovered during the course of an investigation into an explosion in Haret Treik that killed two Hamas members last week, the paper said. Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Al-Murr said the blast targeted Hamas Representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan.

According to the London-based Arabic daily Ash-Sharq al-Awsat, the attack was carried out as Hamas members received live ammunition training in the basement of the building under Hamas control.

The daily said Hezbollah told Hamas it would not intervene, and that Hamas "would have to resolve the problem on its own."

Ash-Sharq al-Awsat also reported that Hamas decided to close its office in Haret Hreik until the situation was resolved.

Het public relations probleem van Israel

Michael Hirsh heeft natuurlijk gelijk, ondanks alle verhalen over de 'almachtige Israellobby'. Hij vergeet echter een belangrijke oorzaak van Israels PR probleem, en dat zijn de media zelf. Het is helemaal waar dat Israel vaak te defensief is, dat goede en feitelijke informatie vaak niet wordt gegeven, dat Israelische leiders met een zwaar accent gemeenplaatsen herhalen, maar ook wanneer informatie wel (rijkelijk) voorhanden is en goed wordt gepresenteerd, wordt zij niet door de media opgepikt. Zo werden de duizenden raketten op Sderot de afgelopen jaren grotendeels genegeerd, net als radikale uitspraken van Hamas leiders of opruiende TV programma's waarin zelfmoordterroristen werden geëerd door de Palestijnse Autoriteit. Bovendien komen Israelische leiders minder aan het woord en worden Israelische bronnen met meer afstand en scepsis weergegeven, als ze überhaupt al worden gebruikt. Israeli's worden doorgaans op een kritischer toon geinterviewd en krijgen moeilijkere vragen, of hun verhaal wordt direct in beelden ondermijnd. Wat betreft Nederland is een en ander gedocumenteerd wat betreft de NOS en NRC Handelsblad, maar we hebben hoogstwaarschijnlijk met een algemeen verschijnsel te maken.
Britse media zijn in hun eenzijdigheid nog een flinke stap verder gegaan, tot en met cartoons van Sharon die Palestijnse babies eet en een voorpagina (ik meen van Newsweek) waarop een Amerikaanse vlag met Davidsterren erin te zien was. Misschien dat Hirsh na dit artikel ook eens kritisch naar zijn eigen Newsweek kan kijken en kan voorstellen een paar reportages te maken over Sderot, over Jodenhaat in Palestijnse media en de indoctrinatie van kinderen op Hamas scholen.

Israel's PR Problem

The Jewish state is good at many things, like war and technology, but inept at promoting itself. It needs to get better, soon.

Jan 5, 2010

Though he lacks all credibility—even in his own country these days—Western journalists never seem to tire of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The feeling is obviously mutual. As the '00s wound down, the Iranian president sat smugly for yet another series of interviews with America's media big shots. As always, he appeared eager for a fresh round of "debate" over Israel's right to exist, 60-plus years after its founding. Featured on Larry King Live last fall, Ahmadinejad trotted out his favorite argument: even if the Holocaust happened—a fact he won't quite concede—it wasn't any justification for plunking down a Jewish state in the middle of Palestine in 1948. Why that place in particular, asked the former "university professor" (as Ahmadinejad referred to himself), sidestepping 4,000 years of history and the 1917 Balfour Declaration with a smirk. Still smiling, Ahmadinejad answered his own question: "Because the Holocaust happened, they said, and the Jewish people were oppressed, and the Jewish people need an independent government. And where in the world? In Palestine. And we're saying, well, what exactly does this have to do with Palestine?" Larry King's response? "Well, I understand that, intellectually understand that." On to the next subject, right after this break.

To be sure, few intelligent people have ever taken Ahmadinejad seriously. But by endlessly repeating such propaganda on prime time, courtesy of untutored TV anchors, high-profile enemies of Israel like the Iranian leader have been sowing seeds of existential doubt about Israel for far too long. And for far too long, Israel has been permitting this sort of nonsense to go unanswered in an effective way. It's not that Israelis don't respond to the propaganda; it is that Israelis tend to do so defensively and reluctantly, and therefore incompetently.

Even Benjamin Netanyahu, an eloquent English speaker who may be the most effective communicator ever to serve as Israeli prime minister, played into Ahmadinejad's agenda when he devoted most of his speech at the U.N. last fall to defending his country against the Iranian leader's "rants." Bandying accusations with Ahmadinejad, he waved a copy of recently acquired original blueprints for Auschwitz and the actual minutes of the infamous 1942 Wannsee Protocol, which detailed the Nazi plan for the Final Solution. "Is this protocol a lie?" he asked. The same sort of querulous defensiveness characterized Israel's response to the release of the U.N.'s Goldstone Report, which alleged atrocities by Israeli troops in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in late 2008. Israeli officials denounced the report as wrong and unfair but stinted on producing their own counterevidence of just how much effort their military put into avoiding the deaths of innocents in that extraordinarily difficult operation. (Among the evidence I've seen: video footage showing Hamas operatives snatching Palestinian children from the street and using them as shields to successfully prevent Israeli fire, thereby banking on the very humaneness that Israel's critics now deny existed.)

This won't do. To survive in the long run, Israel must get better at fighting for itself on the "new battlefield" of world opinion, as a just-released study calls it. The only way to do so is to develop a long-term strategy and to go on the offensive. Israel is fiercely effective at taking the offensive militarily as well as technologically—as Dan Senor and Saul Singer point out in their new book, Start-Up Nation—but somehow it remains chronically inept at promoting its interests aggressively. The Israeli government continues to see this issue as a secondary matter of little substance. Its attitude seems to be: Why bother? The world isn't with us anyway. Never will be.

Hence, during the 2006 Lebanon war, then-P.M. Ehud Olmert never bothered to hold a news conference explaining himself in English. And in the middle of the 2005 disengagement from Gaza, when Israeli soldiers had to uproot whole towns of anguished Israeli citizens, the government failed to develop a PR campaign to win global sympathy. "When I asked them about their 'press strategy,' they just sort of looked at me. They didn't have one," says Senor, who served as communications strategist for the U.S. occupation authority in Iraq. "Whether it's tactics or strategy, they're terrible at it. Their attitude is, they're busy in a knife fight and don't have the time." On a recent trip to Israel, I heard exactly the same complaints about the government's lack of PR savvy—even from some Israelis.

That dismissive attitude is no longer an option. Sometime in 2010 Israel may undertake the most sensitive military operation in its history—an attack on Iran—and if it does, it will need every ally it can get around the world. Beyond that, however, Israel's future fight for its existence is far more likely to take place in the realm of world politics than regional military threats, and it has to gear up. Setting aside the Iran nuclear issue, Israel is militarily secure; no rival nation's military can come close to challenging it, and the security fence as well as improved intelligence gathering in the West Bank have reduced suicide attacks to a new low. Politically, however, things are looking shakier than they have in a long time. With the Palestinians hopelessly divided, and Netanyahu resisting a total freeze on settlements, a negotiated two-state solution seems as remote as it ever has. Israel's unilateral efforts to promote a separate Palestinian state—the heart of the strategy that led to the Gaza pullout—have failed irretrievably with Hamas's violent takeover of the territory. U.S. envoy George Mitchell is headed back to the region shortly in a quixotic bid to restart talks with what remains of the Palestinian government. But in the absence of meaningful peace efforts, there is a new campaign emerging around the world to raise fundamental questions about Israel's legitimacy as a purely Jewish state.

As the dream of peace appears to be dying, in other words, the old question at the heart of the West Bank occupation is alive and healthier than ever: how can Israel retain its Jewish identity if it intends to rule territorially over millions of Palestinians into the indefinite future? "The recent assaults on the state's legitimacy threaten to push Israel towards the status of a pariah state and therefore pose a real threat," wrote Eram Shayshon of Tel Aviv's Reut Institute. The Israeli think tank has published a study concluding that Israel's hardest struggle may now come in a war of words. The battlefields, the study says, will be "hubs of delegitimization" based in such cities as London, Toronto, Brussels, and Madrid.

Ahmadinejad - like challenges to Israel's basic right to exist are beneath comment. But as long as all those Arabs and Palestinians remain in its midst, their political status unresolved, critics from all sides will keep questioning how long Israel can endure as both a Jewish state and a democracy. Why not organize a well-funded PR strategy, complete with eminent proxies (retired statesmen of the kind TV producers love to book), to begin to address those questions now? Go on the offensive: a case could be made that, as the only Mideast state actually approved by a vote of the U.N. General Assembly (Resolution 181 in November 1947, partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab sections; Jews embraced it, and Arabs went to war over it), Israel has the right under international law to retain its identity as a Jewish state. By contrast, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon were merely patched together by treaty bureaucrats at around the same time—hardly a global imprimatur.

Don't simply parry, in other words; thrust as well. Strike preemptively for hearts and minds. Develop long-term strategies. Lay the groundwork for future challenges so that you've got camera-ready allies in high places, and the Larry Kings of the world are gradually and subtly "educated" in how to respond to obvious misstatements of fact. Plan and organize a lot more tours and private briefings for journalists and think tanks—the kind that Jewish groups and U.S. senators and congressmen now routinely get, to great effect. Embed foreign journalists and others in more operations. Take the doubters down into the archeological tunnels well below the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem to show people, again and again, that the Jews were at the Western Wall first. You can then remind them that, for all the accusations of brutality and insensitivity hurled at Israel, Israelis still restrain themselves today from worshiping at the holiest site in Judaism—the "foundation stone" of the Ark of the Covenant 250 feet away from the wall—so as not to ruffle Muslim sensitivities (it sits underneath the more recently built Dome of the Rock).

Winning good will means an endless siege on world opinion, but Israel can no longer disdain the war that awaits it on this new battlefield. To survive, it must make better use of its talent and ingenuity to make its case.

Find this article at

donderdag 7 januari 2010

Abbas verdedigt Egyptische blokkade van Gaza

The Palestinian leader also justified Egypt's construction of a steel wall that along its border with the Gaza Strip. Cairo has the "full right to protect its territory and prevent smuggling of illegal materials into Gaza," he said. "It is a sovereign and political decision of the Egyptian government and we understand that," Abbas added, reminding attendants of "the reasons for the Gaza siege.
It is, in fact, the coup that Hamas staged that created all the problems for Gaza's residents," he said.
Zo, beste Gaza activisten, nu hoor je het ook eens van een ander. Egypte, en dus ook Israel, heeft als soevereine staat het recht om haar grondgebied te beschermen en de illegale wapensmokkel tegen te gaan. Men heeft het recht de grens te sluiten met een gebied waar een vijandig regime aan de macht is. En de problemen zijn veroorzaakt door Hamas, dat in juni 2007 in een illegale coup de macht opeiste in Gaza, en sindsdien de burgerrechten en vrijheden van de inwoners aan banden heeft gelegd, dissidente journalisten opgepakt en islamitische regels heeft opgelegd. Ook laat men patienten die in Israel of op de Westoever behandeld kunnen worden vaak niet gaan, omdat zij niet over de juiste papieren zouden beschikken.


The Jerusalem Post
Jan 6, 2010 11:10 | Updated Jan 6, 2010 16:20
Abbas: '67 borders precondition to talks

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would be the first to negotiate with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but only if the latter would cease construction in the settlements and recognize the 1967 borders of a Palestinian state, Israel Radio reported Wednesday, quoting Qatari newspapers.

Abbas also said that Netanyahu's recent statements following his visit to Cairo, in which the Israeli premier called for the resumption of peace talks, were vague and needed clarification.

Speaking at the Sheraton Doha, Abbas was quoted by Qatari daily Gulf Times commenting on the failed reconciliation attempts with Hamas, explaining that negotiators from the rival faction had kept asking for last-minute amendments in what was an attempt to halt the reconciliation process.

"Going through the whole gamut of things again means a delay of another two years and that is what Hamas wants," he said.

Abbas added that he "welcomed" mediation by any Arab country to solve the standoff between the rival Palestinian movements, but insisted that any deal must be signed in Egypt. "The national dialogue started in Egypt and must end there," Gulf Times quoted Abbas as saying.

The Palestinian leader also justified Egypt's construction of a steel wall that along its border with the Gaza Strip. Cairo has the "full right to protect its territory and prevent smuggling of illegal materials into Gaza," he said. "It is a sovereign and political decision of the Egyptian government and we understand that," Abbas added, reminding attendants of "the reasons for the Gaza siege.

It is, in fact, the coup that Hamas staged that created all the problems for Gaza's residents," he said.

On the negotiations for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, Abbas said he welcomed the release of any Palestinian prisoner, "even if Hamas took credit for it."

Rellen aan Rafah grens tussen Hamas aanhangers en Egyptische grenswachten

The barrier has angered the Hamas rulers because it would sever Gaza's last lifeline and increases pressure on the militants to make concessions.
De blokkade is bedoeld om het Hamas regime te verzwakken, een regime dat, zowel in woord als in daad, in oorlog is met Israel. Mensen en groeperingen die deze blokkade bestrijden kiezen dus duidelijk partij in het conflict en helpen Hamas. Hamas heeft dat zelf ook heel duidelijk gemaakt in een welkomst toespraak tegenover de actievoerders een paar dagen geleden, en eerder zijn actievoerders door Hamas geprezen en geëerd. Dan ben je geen onpartijdige vredesactivist meer, die opkomt voor de zwakkeren, maar steun je een misdadig terroristisch regime dat in haar handvest oproept tot het doden van alle Joden en verwijst naar de antisemitische Protocollen van de Wijzen van Zion.
George Galloway en andere organisatoren staan bekend om hun extreme uitspraken en steun aan terroristische organisaties en regimes. Galloway was bijvoorbeeld bevriend met Saddam Hoessein.

The Jerusalem Post
Jan 6, 2010 11:06 | Updated Jan 6, 2010 17:12
Egyptian border guard killed in clash with Gaza protesters

Egyptian security forces and Palestinians clashed at the Gaza border on Wednesday over the delay of an international aid convoy, killing one Egyptian border guard and wounding 15 Palestinians.

The incident further raises the tension between Egypt and the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip who see Cairo's attempts to seal the border as a direct threat to their survival, particularly a new effort to build a steel wall blocking cross-border tunnels.

It was the worst violence on the border since an Egyptian major was killed by Palestinian gunmen during Operation Cast Lead in December 2008.

The Egyptian state news agency said Palestinians shot and killed the 21-year-old border guard who was in an observation tower overlooking the frontier. Nine other guards were injured by the stones thrown across the border by hundreds of Palestinians.

Hamas had called for a protest earlier over the delay of an international aid convoy at the nearby Egyptian port city of El-Arish, but soon lost control of the situation as hundreds of youths began hurling rocks across the border at the guards.

Hamas police fired shots to disperse the crowd and shots were also heard from the Egyptian side the border. The director of a local hospital, Dr. Abdullah Shahateh said they treated 12 people, two in a serious condition. There were three other wounded in another hospital.

Ehab Ghussein, the spokesman for Gaza's interior minister, said growing anger over Egypt's construction of an underground barrier along its border helped fuel the protests.

"There was anger, and that's because of what happened, especially about the wall and (Egypt preventing entry of) the people who are coming to stand with us," he said.

Ghussein said 35 Palestinians were injured, including two who are brain dead and five in serious condition. His tally could not be reconciled with that of local doctors.

The incident follows a late night clash between international pro-Gaza activists and Egyptian security at El-Arish when Egypt refused to allow part of the convoy to enter its territory and move on to Gaza.

More than 50 activists and over a dozen members of the security forces were injured. Activists briefly seized some policemen as well.

Egypt has come under criticism from Arab and Muslim groups for cooperating with Israel in its 28-month blockade of the impoverished territory. The blockade was imposed after Hamas violently seized control from the forces of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Hamas government has largely survived through a massive network of smuggling tunnels under the border, bringing in everything from food, medicine and consumer goods to cash and weapons.

Egypt began constructing an underground metal barrier along its border with Gaza late last year, in its highest profile attempt to control the smuggling.

The barrier has angered the Hamas rulers because it would sever Gaza's last lifeline and increases pressure on the militants to make concessions.

Egypt says it is no longer affected by Hamas attempts to rally international opinion over the blockade since the border is a matter of national security and sovereignty.

"This used to matter before, and we were sensitive to criticism. Now, this is the way it will be," Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said about the protests by activists.

More than 500 international activists accompanied the convoy organized by the British-based group Viva Palestina, bringing tons of humanitarian supplies, as well as vehicles, to Gaza. The group includes British, American, Jordanian and Turkish activists and lawmakers.

The scuffles at the port broke out late Tuesday at al-Arish port building when authorities told the organizers that out of the nearly 200 vehicles, some 59 can't enter Gaza through Egypt, but must go through Israeli terminals.

A security official said the vehicles in question are carrying pickup trucks, sedans, generators and other equipment, which are not allowed to pass through the Egyptian crossing at Rafah and had to go via Israel. Only medical aid and passengers are allowed through, the official said.

British MP George Galloway told Sky News television that the activists were negotiating with authorities and refusing to leave behind their vehicles.

"It's a breach of the agreement which we reached," he said. "It is completely unconscionable."

Zaki, the ministry spokesman, said the rules were clear from the start, and accused the activists of coordinating with Hamas to create problems.

"We didn't mislead anyone. They have their interests ... and they want to make up problems and clash with Egypt," he told The Associated Press.

Television reports showed images of both riot police and activists hurling stones at each other and said clashes began when angry protesters attempted to leave the port area and were driven back by riot police.

Alice Howard, a spokeswoman for the group speaking from London, said more than 50 activists were injured in the scuffle.

Wael al-Sakka, a Jordanian activist, said the group was not allowed to leave the port building, and denied government claims they took control of the premises.

"The Egyptians were too high-strung. The police are the reason for the tension," al-Sakka said.

He said six activists were detained, including Americans and British citizens. The security official said five were detained, but didn't identify them. US embassy officials did not immediately have information on the arrests.

Irak wil compensatie van Israel voor bombarderen Osirak kernreactor van Saddam

En misschien moeten de geallieerden Duitsland alsnog compenseren voor de bombardementen op Dresden, Berlijn, Keulen en een aantal andere steden.
Ik zou eerder zeggen dat Irak Israel moet compenseren voor de schade (ook psychologisch) die de scud raketten tijdens de Golfoorlog hebben aangericht.

The Jerusalem Post
Jan 5, 2010 15:51 | Updated Jan 5, 2010 16:40
'Israel must compensate Iraq for Osirak'

Iraq will demand that Israel pay compensation for bombing the unfinished nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981, an Iraqi member of parliament told the Iraqi al-Sabah newspaper in an article published on Tuesday.

Muhammad Naji Muhammad claimed that his government was planning to enlist the United Nation's help to pressure Israel into compensating Baghdad, according to a DPA report cited by Channel 10.

"Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Foreign Ministry turned to the UN and the Security Council demanding that Israel pay us reparations for damage caused to the reactor in 1981," Muhammad was quoted as telling the newspaper.

Baghdad is demanding that the UN establish a committee to assess the scope of the damage caused by the Israeli strike in order to calculate the appropriate compensation.

The Iraqi demand is based on UN Security Council Resolution 487, which was drafted following the bombing of the reactor in June 1981. The resolution harshly condemned Israel's aerial attack and determined that Iraq had a right to demand compensation over the damages.

IDF zoekt juridisch advies tijdens toekomstige conflicten

Gezien het feit dat de hele wereld continu met een vergrootglas kijkt naar Israel, is dat geen overbodige luxe.
In the wake of the release of the United Nation's Goldstone report accusing Israel and Hamas of war crimes during the Gaza war, as well as efforts to issue warrants abroad for the arrest of senior IDF officers and former ministers, some Israeli officials have said the international rules of war need to be changed to better reflect the realities of asymmetric warfare.
Hierover zou inderdaad eens een stevige discussie moeten plaatsvinden, want veel regels zijn van kort na de Tweede Wereldoorlog en toen zag de wereld er iets anders uit dan nu. Er is vooral veel meer asymetrische oorlogsvoering gekomen, van staten tegen allerhande guerrilla's of rebellen of terroristische organisaties die soms tegelijkertijd een politieke partij zijn en soms een los verband met autonoom opererende cellen in verschillende landen. Ze worden vaak gesteund door een of meerdere staten, expliciet danwel impliciet, maar hoe innig de banden zijn en hoeveel eigen zeggenschap ze hebben is vaak niet geheel duidelijk. Ze dragen zelden uniformen, opereren in burgergebied en zijn voor de vijand nagenoeg onzichtbaar.
Over de interpretatie van een aantal bepalingen zijn experts het bovendien niet eens, en vaak 'wint' een bepaalde interpretatie op (machts)politieke redenen.

IDF to seek legal advice during future conflicts
By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent Last update - 10:03 06/01/2010

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has issued an order requiring the Israel Defense Forces to consult with the army's legal advisers while military operations are underway and not just when they are being planned.

Ashkenazi imposed the stricter regulations despite opposition by several commanders, including members of the General Staff.

In making that decision, Ashkenazi has essentially accepted the viewpoint of Military Advocate General Avichai Mendelblit. However, in an effort to keep the legal advisers from disrupting the combat, the IDF has decided they will work only with the divisional headquarters while operations are underway - rather than with brigade or battalion headquarters, as is common in some Western armies, including the U.S. military.

During Operation Cast Lead and in some other major IDF operations, legal advisers took part in the planning as well as the selection and approval of targets for destruction. However, legal advisers were rarely consulted once the combat began.

Last winter's operation in the Gaza Strip saw a gradual change on this issue, but it was only in recent months that the chief of staff reached a definitive position.

Meanwhile, greater emphasis has been placed on training officers in the rules of war and international law, as part of officer training courses at the level of company, battalion and brigade commanders.

In recent months, the IDF and Foreign Ministry have been cooperating increasingly closely on their interactions with foreign government and international organizations regarding the IDF's efforts to ensure the legality of its operations and to carry out investigations on the operations after they are over.

As part of this effort, Mendelblit has traveled to Washington for meetings with officials in the Obama administration, and to the United Nations headquarters for talks with officials there.

Part of the Israeli effort is to formulate understandings with foreign governments and armies on legal regulations that pertain to asymmetrical warfare, particularly involving fighting non-state entities in areas populated by civilians - the kind of combat that has characterized the IDF's battles with Hezbollah and Hamas, and those of NATO armies in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the wake of the release of the United Nation's Goldstone report accusing Israel and Hamas of war crimes during the Gaza war, as well as efforts to issue warrants abroad for the arrest of senior IDF officers and former ministers, some Israeli officials have said the international rules of war need to be changed to better reflect the realities of asymmetric warfare.

Legal advisers at the Foreign Ministry and the military advocate general's office have opposes such initiatives, saying it is unlikely that most countries would accept a reformulated Geneva convention.

However, efforts are being made to reach understandings with Western democracies and other countries, including India, to adopt what some call a dynamic interpretation of existing rules of war that would be better suited to the changing realities. Such rules would not restrict armies from countering the threat of terrorism because of concern that its officers or political leadership would be accused of war crimes.

woensdag 6 januari 2010

Snelweg heropend voor Palestijnse automobilisten

"Stel je voor: je slaat de krant open bij het redactioneel commentaar en daar staat:

Vorige week gaf het Israelische Hoog Gerechtshof de regering opdracht een belangrijke forenzensnelweg te heropenen voor Palestijnse automobilisten. Over de 443 rijden dagelijks 40.000 auto's tussen Jeruzalem en Tel Aviv. Dit vonnis is representatief voor de enorme inspanningen van Israel om een evenwicht te vinden tussen de eigen behoefte aan veiligheid en de rechten van Palestijnen op de Westoever en in de Gazastrook. Deze weg werd in 2002 gesloten voor Palestijnen toen, tijdens de tweede intifada, in een paar weken 5 Israelische automobilisten werden vermoord door scherpschutters. De regering heeft bijna 3 miljard dollar uitgegeven aan een parallelle snelweg voor Palestijjnen, zonder checkpoints die het verkeer ophouden.
Bedenk dat deze zaak is aangespannen door een Israelische mensenrechtenorganisatie, is gefinancierd uit donaties van Israeli's, is behandeld in een Israelisch gerechtshof, en is gevonnisd door Israelische rechters. En nu gaan het Israelische kabinet en leger zich aan dit vonnis houden.
Als je nagaat dat Joden kunnen worden doodgeschoten als ze alleen maar over een Palestijnse straat lopen - en er zijn geen Palestijnse mensenrechtenorganisaties of rechtbanken bij wie ze in beroep kunnen gaan - dan zijn de Israelische pogingen om Palestijnen met respect te behandelen, ondanks de honderden pogingen tot zelfmoordaanslagen die elk jaar weer vanuit de Westbank en Gaza worden ondernomen, dan zijn die pogingen voorbeeldig.

Hoor ik daar iemand heel hard lachen bij de gedachte dat een krant zo'n commentaar zou afdrukken? Zou dit niet in de NRC hebben kunnen staan? In de Volkskrant? Telegraaf dan? Reformatorisch Dagblad? Het gelach gaat ongetwijfeld door, maar het bovenstaande stond dinsdag in de Canadese National Post. Waarom niet hier?"

Aldus Jantien op IsraNed. Goeie vraag. Misschien moeten we hem wel omdraaien: waarom is dat in Canada blijkbaar nog wel normaal? Misschien zou je eens een tijdje een Canadese krant moeten monitoren en dat tegenover de berichtgeving in een qua kleur vergelijkbare Nederlandse krant moeten zetten. Na mijn uitgebreide onderzoek naar de berichtgeving in NRC Handelsblad en het negeren daarvan door de media, lijkt me dat een leuke klus voor iemand anders. Ik ben altijd bereid om tips te geven :-)


Israelische studenten winnen internationale debatwedstrijd

Eindelijk eens goed nieuws, maar wacht even, dit zal door antizionisten worden uitgelegd als bewijs dat Israeli's alles recht kunnen praten wat krom is, en daarom de Israellobby zo oppermachtig is en het buitenlands beleid van alle westerse landen onder controle heeft. Dat zo'n debatwedstrijd winnen betekent dat je goed inzicht hebt in de materie, goede feitenkennis bezit en vooral ook een goede kennis van de Engelse taal, zal men niet graag erkennen.
Maar misschien wel de belangrijkste overwinning is de volgende:  
Despite the large presence of students from Muslim countries, Cohen-Idov said that there was no tension felt between the delegations. "The debate community is unique in that it embodies all the clichés. No one cares about nationality or race. Even members of the delegations from Qatar, Iraq and Malaysia acted as our friends and congratulated us."

TAU students win world championship in debate

Israeli team beats 30 other groups, including delegation from University of Haifa. 'Even delegations from Qatar, Iraq, Malaysia congratulated us for victory,' winners tell Ynet

Yaheli Moran Zelikovich
Ynetnews / Published: 01.04.10, 21:35,7340,L-3829680,00.html

A victory that's hard to debate- Tel Aviv University debate team on Sunday made an impressive achievement when it won the world championship in debate for universities held in Istanbul. The Israeli team managed to beat three other groups from the Netherlands, Malaysia and an Israeli team from University of Haifa.

The team members, Yoni Cohen-Idov and Uri Merhav, won the finals for non-native English speakers after losing the title during the European championship last summer.

During the final round, Cohen-Idov and Merhav were asked to debate in favor of "banning the positive depiction of war criminals in the media", while in the semi-finals they argued the question of whether to allow prisoners to raise their kids in prison.

In the quarter-finals the two debated banning advertisement of treatments to "cure" homosexuality.

The world championship in debate for universities is held annually in different universities and is considered one of the largest student events in the world, with over 1,000 participants from some 150 universities. In 2002, the Hebrew university delegation won the coveted title.

The competition is held in two separate categories; debate for native English speakers and non-native English speakers. The two Israeli teams took part in the latter group together with 30 other teams. The winning team in the native-English category hailed from The University of Sydney in Australia, who managed to defeat delegations from top academic institutions such as Oxford and Harvard.

Five Israelis were nominated among the ten best non-native English speakers. Cohen-Idov, an undergraduate history student ranked forth, Merhav, an undergraduate physics student came in at number five and Yael Betzalel, a graduate gender-studies student ranked seventh. Two other Israeli participants from the University of Haifa came in at ninth and tenth places.

After returning to Israel, Cohen-Idov told Ynet:" We were raffled to take sides on a very difficult subject, which is banning the positive depiction of war-criminals. We gave a winning argument by saying that freedom of speech must be curbed when there is a probability it might lead to incitement and violence."

Despite the large presence of students from Muslim countries, Cohen-Idov said that there was no tension felt between the delegations. "The debate community is unique in that it embodies all the clichés. No one cares about nationality or race. Even members of the delegations from Qatar, Iraq and Malaysia acted as our friends and congratulated us."

Israelische militairen moeten in Groot-Brittannië arrestatie vrezen

Het is dus blijkbaar nog niet opgelost, ondanks eerdere toezeggingen van de Britten. Het is een absurde en ongehoorde situatie, en misschien moet de wet wel verder worden uitgehold door allerlei politici van bevriende landen te gaan aanklagen en hun arrestatie te eisen. Als dit de VS, Rusland of China overkomt is het snel gedaan met die wet.

The Jerusalem Post
Jan 5, 2010 5:22 | Updated Jan 5, 2010 10:09
IDF delegation to UK canceled due to fear of arrest warrants

As Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Britain's Attorney-General Baroness Scotland of Asthal are about to meet in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, it has been revealed that a delegation of IDF officers cancelled a planned visit to the UK last week, after the British hosts couldn't guarantee that arrest warrants wouldn't be issued against the invitees.

An outraged Ayalon expressed concern that relations with London could be damaged by the current legal situation in the UK. The issue of changing UK law to prevent the arrest of Israeli officials and officers is expected to loom large in Lady Scotland's meetings with foreign ministry officials.

While it was the defense ministry, and not the foreign ministry, which advised the officers against accepting the British military's invitation, observers believe that airing the story during Lady Scotland's visit might be an attempt on the foreign ministry's behalf put the topic high on the public agenda.

The UK attorney-general's semi-private visit, scheduled months ago, comes less than a month after a British judge's arrest warrant for Kadima leader Tzipi Livni triggered a mini diplomatic crisis, and follows promises from the British government that it would finally act to close the loophole that made the threats of such arrests possible.

Lady Scotland is also expected to address the issue at a lecture at the Hebrew University on Tuesday night entitled "Lawfare: Time for rules of engagement?"

Her lecture is being sponsored by the law school.

Livni canceled a trip to the UK last month to address a Jewish National Fund conference after it was learned that a warrant for her arrest had been issued. At the time both British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband pledged to ensure that nothing similar would happen again.

Israeli officials said that so far nothing tangible has been done to close the loophole in legislation that allows individuals to go to court and ask for an arrest warrant against an alleged war criminal, without the British government having to know about it and, as a result, not having any say about whether it should be issued.

At the same time, the officials pointed out that the Livni affair exploded just prior to the holiday season in Britain, when very little government business is conducted.

Strategieën voor hervatten vredesoverleg Israel en PA

Allerlei geruchten doen de ronde over hoe het vredesproces weer opgestart kan worden. Een idee is dat voordat over tien maanden de bouwstop eindigt, er overeenstemming moet zijn over de grenzen van de te vormen Palestijnse staat. De andere onderwerpen komen daarna. Dan is gelijk duidelijk waar Israel weer mag bouwen en waar niet. Klinkt aardig, maar dan heeft Israel haar troefkaarten uit handen gegeven zonder daar iets voor te hebben teruggekregen wat betreft Palestijnse concessies over de vluchtelingen en Jeruzalem, erkenning van Israel als Joodse staat, een einde aan de verheerlijking van terorristen etc.
Iets anders is de afspraak dat binnen twee jaar een vredesplan op tafel moet liggen en de Palestijnse staat werkelijkheid zal worden, gebaseerd op de pre-1967 wapenstilstandslijnen. Ook daar is Israel tegen, want zo'n limiet zet de onderhandelingen onder druk en als de uitkomst al vaststaat, wat valt er dan nog te onderhandelen? Eventueel zou zo'n afspraak gepaard kunnen gaan met brieven van de VS aan beide partijen.
Israel wil zonder voorwaarden of afspraken vooraf gaan praten, en meent dat alles tijdens de onderhandelingen moet worden geregeld, terwijl de Palestijnen zoveel mogelijk buiten Israel om vantevoren vast willen leggen, via garanties van de VS en/of andere partijen. Deze garanties houden Israelische concessies in waarvoor de Palestijnen zelf niks hebben hoeven doen, zodat hun uitgangspositie beter is. Het is een slimme taktiek, en omdat iedereen zo ontzettend graag wil dat de partijen weer om de tafel gaan zitten, zal het de Palestijnen waarschijnlijk wel lukken zo nog het een en ander binnen te slepen. Misschien moet Israel ook maar weer voorwaarden gaan stellen, en 'hard to get' spelen.

The Jerusalem Post
Jan 5, 2010 0:40 | Updated Jan 5, 2010 9:30
Gov't opposes 'borders first' approach

Israel's top decision-makers are against discussing the border issue first in future negotiations with the Palestinians, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Separating final borders from other core issues would allow negotiators to avoid the thorny settlement construction dispute.

In recent days, it has been widely reported that the issue of permanent borders would be the first one tackled in future Israeli-Palestinian talks - the idea being that once they are decided on, the contentious issues regarding settlement building would dissolve, and Israel would clearly be able to build in the settlements that would fall inside the negotiated border.

There have been reports of a US interest in solving the border issue within the next nine months, before the end of the construction moratorium in the settlements, so it would be clear afterward where Israel could and could not build.

But the problem with that approach, according to a senior official in Jerusalem, is that it would mean Israel relinquishing land and settlements without getting anything in return, and then having to begin discussing the more difficult issues of Jerusalem, refugees and the demilitarization of a future Palestinian state.

"In this case you give up territorial assets, and what have you done?" asked the official. "You haven't ended the conflict, and haven't dealt with refugees or Jerusalem. This idea is a nonstarter for all the ministers, from Left or Right."

The official said that from Jerusalem's point of view, the idea that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed must be the guiding principle in future talks, just as it has been in previous rounds.

The official's comments came as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that he did not want to resume peace talks with Israel on an "unclear basis," and reiterated his demand for a complete cessation of settlement construction.

Abbas, who was speaking to reporters after meeting in Sharm e-Sheikh with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, said he reached understandings with Cairo on the required terms for resuming the peace talks.

He said the two sides agreed that Jerusalem must be included in the talks and that Israel should freeze all settlement construction.

"In principle, we have no objections to returning to the negotiating table or holding any kind of meetings," Abbas said. "Nor are we setting preconditions."

Asked if he would be willing to hold a tripartite meeting with Mubarak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Abbas said: "We have said - and we continue to say - that we are ready to resume the talks once settlement construction is halted and international terms of reference are recognized as the basis for the negotiations."

In response to another question about whether he saw Netanyahu's latest ideas [which were discussed during last week's talks with Mubarak] as encouraging, Abbas said: "We will judge these ideas after the visit of [Egyptian] Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and General Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to the US. They will discuss these ideas in Washington and everything will become clear afterwards. I don't want to judge ideas that now seem to be unclear."

Senior officials in Jerusalem said Abbas seemed to be leaving the door open for negotiations, and that the nuance and tone of his comments were not as unequivocally against entering into negotiations with Israel as in the past.

For instance, the official said, this was the first time in a while that Abbas has said he was not opposed to entering into negotiations or holding meetings with the Netanyahu government. The overall assessment in Jerusalem is that there has been a bit of a change in the "music" coming from the PA.

This apparently was what Netanyahu had in mind when he said at the Likud faction meeting on Monday that "in recent weeks, there has been a change of atmosphere. I hope that the time is now ripe to move the peace process forward."

He said that Palestinian preconditions for talks had wasted precious time that could have been spent negotiating a real agreement, rather than a framework for talks.

"I believe that negotiations about the nature of negotiations have delayed the process enough and should be dropped," the prime minister said.

He said it was obvious that each side would be free to raise its positions around the negotiating table. But, he said, Israel insisted that the results of the negotiations be determined in talks at the end of the process, and certainly not by preconditions at the very beginning.

Meanwhile, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for Abbas, accused Israel of "continuing to avoid its commitments" to the peace process. He said that Israel was continuing settlement construction and military incursions into Palestinian communities, while also ignoring the road map for peace in the Middle East.

Abu Rudaineh, who is accompanying Abbas on his current tour of a number of Arab countries, said that the PA did not want to hold meetings to waste time. The PA, he added, was prepared to return to the negotiations, but only on the basis of a freeze of settlement construction, and if the ultimate goal was clear. Abbas is insisting that the framework of the talks be a Palestinian state with the pre-1967 lines as its borders, a formula that Netanyahu does not accept.

Abu Rudaineh explained that "entering negotiations with Israel without clarity means that the talks would be fruitless."

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman meanwhile met on Monday with visiting Quartet envoy Tony Blair and said that it was important to hold a "frank dialogue" with the Palestinians, without creating any illusions that would only cause more frustration and lead to violence.

Lieberman said it was unrealistic to solve the border issue in nine months, and - as the Palestinians are demanding - to set a two-year deadline for reaching a final agreement.

According to a statement put out by his office, Lieberman said that what was needed was to start direct talks without committing to a deadline.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, who is the only resident of Judea and Samaria among the Likud ministers, said he warned Netanyahu on Sunday against going too far to bring about negotiations with the Palestinians. He said that he and other Likud MKs were "getting ready to fight" against diplomatic concessions, just in case.

MK Danny Danon intended to criticize Netanyahu on diplomatic issues in Monday's Likud faction meeting, but the prime minister insisted that following his own statement about potential talks with the PA, the two-hour meeting would deal solely with the Likud's stance on the loyalty oath bill of Israel Beiteinu MK David Rotem, which is unlikely to be brought to a vote due to the Labor Party's veto.

Danon charged that Netanyahu was trying to avoid criticism. He warned security cabinet ministers in meetings on Monday that "Netanyahu will end up leading us back to pre-1967 borders."

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.