For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
(Please accept my apology on not being able to bring the text into correct alignment)
[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: So here we are at the very time that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has focused on demilitarization as a critical feature of a Palestinian state and the U.S., Egypt and Syria are all working on arranging for the deployment of military forces from Egypt, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and other Arab countries in the Gaza Strip.
One shudders to think that historians may later note the tremendous irony that the seeds for a major Arab-Israeli war were sown this week because the Israelis were so caught up with finding a way out of the confrontation with Obama over settlement construction etc. that they never gave much thought to this development.
And it doesn't take much thinking to realize how deploying military forces from Egypt, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and other Arab countries in the Gaza Strip could lead to war.
In point of fact, it is insulting the intelligence of Hamas to assert that they couldn't come up with a way to manipulate the presence of such a force in order to create a series of events that plunges the Arab states into war with the Jewish State.
Is the Netanyahu team asleep at the switch?
Repeated attempts by IMRA to get official responses regarding this proposal have consistently been met with a refusal to address "speculative news reports" about proposals.]
Egypt, Syria increase pressure on Hamas to seal agreement with Fatah By Akiva Eldar Haaretz Last update - 01:12 16/06/2009 www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1093222.html
Egypt and Syria have upped their pressure on Hamas in recent days, in support of a reconciliation agreement with Fatah. The deal would include a multinational Arab force in the Gaza Strip that would operate in parallel to joint Fatah-Hamas security forces.
An Egyptian source told Haaretz that the American administration is aware of the plan's details and apparently special envoy George Mitchell has asked the Damascus government to use its influence over Hamas to push the plan and the Quartet conditions. The Americans promised the Syrians that if they take on a positive role in the Palestinian channel, the U.S. would act to resume negotiations in the Syrian track.
The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation plan includes the creation of a joint dozen-member committee, to be under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' indirect authority. The committee, only authorized to act in Gaza, would be in charge of post-Operation Cast Lead reconstruction, government reforms, and preparations for the January 2010 presidential and legislative council elections. All factions would undertake to honor the election results and allow the elected government to rule in both Gaza and the West Bank.
Military forces from Egypt, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and other Arab countries would assist local forces in maintaining order until and throughout those elections. The plan is expected to increase pressure on Israel to open border crossings and to push a deal for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit forward. The Egyptian source noted that Hamas had not deviated from its position regarding the number and identity of prisoners to be released in exchange for Shalit.
According to the source, the main obstacle to the plan is the refusal of Hamas' leadership to accept Abbas' authority. However, Egypt did announce a July 7 deadline for the deal. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who met last week in Damascus with Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal, told Haaretz he believes Meshal is very interested in reaching a deal before the deadline.
As part of the feverish activity to reach an agreement, Meshal met last week in Cairo with Egyptian intelligence head Gen. Omar Suleiman. A senior Fatah delegation also visited Cairo a few days ago.
Since U.S. President Barack Obama's Cairo speech earlier this month, Hamas has seemed more distressed and shown signs of a willingness for greater flexibility. Meshal praised Obama's speech, saying that Hamas would not constitute an obstacle to talks.
By contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech on Sunday met with derogatory responses from Hamas. The organization's Gaza spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, said the speech expressed "extreme and racist" ideology and offered no new policy.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"