Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rubin - The “Arab Spring” and Its Impact on Israel

Barry Rubin
Rubin Reports
30 December '11

The “Arab Spring” is the name given to the tumultuous political events of 2011. In three countries—Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia—the regimes that had been in power for between 40 and 60 years were overthrown. In Syria and Yemen the governments were seriously challenged and internal conflicts continue with the outcome not yet clear. And in Bahrain, a major challenge to the monarchy was put down by force.

What is the meaning of these events for the future of these countries and also to their relationship to Israel and that country’s security? This article addresses the shorter- and longer-term strategic and geopolitical implications of the “Arab Spring.”

In the three countries where power has changed hands—Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia—Islamists have emerged as powerful political forces. In Egypt, where elections are not yet completed, the Muslim Brotherhood received just under 40 percent of the vote and even more radical Salafists obtained about 20 percent. This means that Islamists will be the leading political parties in forming the parliament and in writing the country’s constitution.

What other forces exist? Only two: the army and the future president. The armed forces do not want political power but they do want to ensure their economic enterprises and wealth. The military junta, which still governs the country, is also concerned about preventing anarchy and maintaining U.S. aid. While asserting itself periodically to try to avoid extremism, the generals have backed down when challenged by the Brotherhood. Presumably, the junta will disband when a new president is elected, perhaps in the summer of 2013.

Fresnozionism - Who really burned the mosque?

Delegation of left-wing
Israelis visits damaged Tuba
Zangaria mosque to 'make
amends'. But what if
it was torched by Arabs?
30 December '11

I have written about how the so-called ‘price tag’ actions have been a goldmine for anti-Israel propaganda. Although there seem to have been a few cases where vandals were actually caught, in others it seems as though the police have simply “rounded up the usual [right-wing activist] suspects.” After a burst of publicity about how they are doing their job, they are forced to release them for lack of actual evidence.

We know that the manufacturing of Israeli ‘crimes’ is a cottage industry for Palestinians. There was the notorious case of Mohammed Dura, the ‘Jenin massacre‘ in which nobody was massacred, the Gaza Beach incident (where navy ships allegedly fired on Palestinian picnickers), and countless incidents alleged to have occurred during Operation Cast Lead which found their way into the Goldstone Report. Hizballah also faked numerous ‘war crimes’, such as the rocketing of a Red Cross ambulance, etc.

So I think I can be excused for wondering how many of the ‘price tag’ actions were actually carried out by Jewish right-wing vandals and how many were ‘Paliwood’ productions. When a mosque was burned in the Arab village of Tuba Zangaria, I wrote this:

Plosker - Medical Misdirection in The Guardian

Al-Biss caught at the Erez Crossing
Simon Plosker..
Honest reporting/Backspin..
29 December '11..

As NGO Monitor has extensively detailed, Physicians For Human Rights (Israel) has a radical political agenda far removed from simple medical matters. It’s therefore no surprise that the organization provides the main body of an article in The Guardian that claims: “Palestinian patients and business people hoping to leave the Gaza Strip are being asked to collaborate with Israel in exchange for an exit permit”.

According to PHR:

172 people, mostly men aged 18 to 40, were called for interrogation by the Shabak, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, last month. Some who attended interviews were granted exit permits.

Putting this figure into perspective, in August 2011 alone, 1522 permits were granted for medical treatment to residents of Gaza (762 patients and 760 for accompanying individuals). In one week in December 2011, 330 patients and accompanying individuals crossed into Israel and the West Bank via the Erez Crossing.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Rennert - IDF's unparalleled record of sparing civilians in counter-terrorism operations

Leo Rennert
American Thinker
30 December '11

In a year-end review of countering rocket fire from Gaza, the IDF reports that its retaliatory fire killed 100 Palestinians, including nine civilians. The rest were combatants linked to Palestinian terror organizations. Put another way, the Palestinian fatality toll included 10 fighters for every civilian.

The one-to-10 noncombatant-combatant fatality ratio is unique among conflicts around the world. No other army can boast of similar records of minimal civilian collateral damage. In fact, the United Nations estimates that 30 civilians are killed for every 10 combatant fatalities in conflicts elsewhere in the world. That's three times as many non-combatants as combatants.

The IDF's record is the more remarkable when one considers that Palestinian terror groups are deeply embedded in civilian neighborhoods, requiring ever greater IDF pinpoint accuracy in retaliatory strikes as well as extensive intelligence inside Gaza to select proper targets. Also, quite often, IDF commanders will forgo ordering an attack when the potential for civilian casualties seems too high.

Yet, if one reviews mainstream media reports in 2011 about the continuing Gaza conflict, scant attention is paid to the paucity of Palestinian civilian casualties. Headlines regularly announce that "Israel killed 3 Palestinians" -- leaving readers in the dark about who these casualties are or, worse, concluding erroneously that they're probably civilians. And virtually never do reporters dig into the lengths to which the Israeli military goes to spare civilians.

(Video) Latma'a Crystal Ball

29 December '11

"As 2011 comes to an end, everyone is making their predictions for what will happen next year. Economic, security, astrological, and mystical predictions proliferate. Everyone's an expert because everyone knows that a year from now, no one will check if their predictions panned out."

But today .... Enjoy!

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Roth - About oil stains and stains of a moral nature

It's December 2008 and this
Israeli boy's home in Ashkelon, 

Israel, has just been destroyed
 by a Hamas rocket, 
one of
the thousands fired indiscriminately
the jihadists of Gaza. Their
official representative 
to the UN
called them "Xmas firecrackers".  [
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
30 December '11..

We've been writing about rockets from Gaza and now we want to ask: how often do you hear or read of them failing to reach the Israeli side of the fence and exploding among Gaza's 'teeming masses'? Probably not very often.

This is not because it does not happen. It happens routinely. The terrorists of Gaza are animated by such single-minded hatred of Jews, and the reporters who cover their exploits have so incredibly little regard for the value of the lives of Gaza's non-terrorist population, that such matters simply (for the most part) go unreported.

Our thanks to Elder of Ziyon whose cogent, articulately-formulated blog focuses on some of those 'accidents' you haven't heard about during the past few days. Such 'accidents' as the UNRWA school in Gaza taking a direct hit by one of those Gazan Palestinian Arab missiles. We mean the Gazan injuries and Gazan damage that followed. We mean the condemnations by UNRWA officials in Gaza that resulted. Try finding them mentioned in the news media that reach you. And good luck.

Elder also reminds of this past week's third anniversary of the Hamas all-out rocket campaign on Israel that they called Operation Oil Stain: in a single day, 31 Qassam rockets, 54 mortar rounds, two Soviet-made GRAD missiles. And that 'proud' total, coming from the Palestinian MAAN newsagency, includes only the firings from Hamas. Other terror gangs fired their own additional weapons, the purpose being to fling anything explosive over the fence at anything Jewish or Israeli. This was a major barrage even by the standards of the ongoing Gazan Palestinian Arab war of terror against Israeli civil society.

Honig - Banana noses and freckles

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
29 December '11..

Back in junior high I had a classmate called Patty Christie, better known to her peers as Cookie. She was big, plumpish and her ruddy baby face was often conspicuously plastered with makeup, to the strident displeasure of our homeroom teacher.

One day Cookie announced assertively that “all Jews have banana noses.” Uninitiated in the irrationalism of stereotyping, I rose to the defense of our tribe: “Oh yeah? How come my nose isn’t like that?” Cookie shot back without hesitation: “Coz you’re not Jewish.”

“Yes I am,” I replied defiantly.

“No, you’re not,” she insisted. “You got freckles.”

I was stumped and all I could come up with was “Huh, what’s that got to do with anything?”

I found myself asking that very same question, with as much bewilderment, after the current White House resident informed the whole world about his daughter Malia’s busy schedule on the bar/bat mitzvah circuit. That was somehow supposed to prove that Obama is the most pro-Israel president ever, endear him to American-Jewish hearts and win him political support, campaign contributions and crucial votes.

But, as with Cookie’s kooky argumentation, I couldn’t find the connection.

Malia’s dad pulled out all the stops when appearing at the recent Union for Reform Judaism Biennial in Maryland. His cliché-ridden routine wouldn’t have shamed any campy stand-up comedian in the intensely embarrassing era of Catskill overkill.

Benson - PLO Envoy: Canaanites Were Occupiers Too

Pesach Benson..
Honest Reporting/Backspin..
28 December '11..

If Newt Gingrich’s comments about Palestinian identity weren’t explosive enough, a PLO diplomat makes a counter-argument that’s an absolute bombshell.

Maen Rashid Areikat, the PLO’s chief representative in the US, says the Palestinians pre-dated the Canaanites in a Washington Post op-ed:

We lived under the rule of a plethora of empires: the Canaanites, Egyptians, Philistines, Israelites, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Mongols, Ottomans and, finally, the British.

Airekat’s claim doesn’t hold water if he’s basing his argument on the bible. Everyone knows the story of Noah and the flood; numerous ancient civilizations independently attest to a world-wide deluge as well. And Canaan — Noah’s grandson – moved to the Holy Land after being cursed for his role in debasing Noah.

That means Canaan moved into an empty Holy Land. I’m not aware of any scholarly research suggesting that anyone lived in the region before the Canaanites. I’ve heard Palestinian claims of Canaanite descent, but never that they pre-date the Canaanites. That’s a stretch.

I suppose Airekat’s original Palestinians living in Canaan ”from time immemorial” were really good swimmers.


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CiF Watch - The Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood gambles with Palestinian lives.

Phoebe Greenwood
CiF Watch..
29 December '11..

About 90 minutes before the Guardian put up Phoebe Greenwood’s latest screed on its ‘World News – Gaza’ section on December 28th another barrage of Kassam rockets rudely awoke the sleeping Israeli civilians living in the region surrounding the Gaza Strip. Eight hours later, a second barrage targeted the same area, endangering children setting out to school at that time and bringing the total number of rockets fired from Gaza this month alone to 46 and this year to 682.

Predictably however, dedicated follower of fashion Phoebe Greenwood deftly airbrushed out the decade-long ongoing war crimes against Israeli civilians by the plethora of terror organisations based in Gaza, ignoring the rockets completely and suggesting that suicide bombings are a thing of the past. Her story concentrates purely on hearsay accounts of Palestinian suffering as recounted to her by a representative of a politically motivated NGO and fails even to afford the accused the right of reply.

There is, of course, nothing surprising about that. Greenwood’s polemic would be considerably less effective both as a tear-jerker for Western audiences and a public relations exercise for PHR were she to provide her readers with the context of the challenges of providing humanitarian assistance to the population of a region in which terrorists trying to infiltrate Israel’s borders mingle indistinguishably with civilians and have a history of exploiting medical permits to facilitate attacks.

(Read full "The Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood gambles with Palestinian lives.")

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Stern - Who Slept in Israel Last Night?

Paula R. Stern..
A Soldier's Mother..
29 December '11..

I push myself too hard, too often. That's the bottom line...and I pretty much always have. This week was no different - two nights I worked until after 3:00 a.m - only to be up and about around 6:30 a.m. Last night, after driving to pick up Elie and Lauren, I knew I was running on empty. I didn't even have time to really enjoy the chocolate (CHOCOLATE!!!!) and the new Nook they bought me (yeah!).

I went to bed around 7:30 p.m. hoping to get up and do some work around 9:00 p.m. It didn't happen. It's now 6:45 a.m. and I feel...rested.

While I slept...
8:40 p.m.: 2 rockets landed in southern Israel, open areas; no injuries

11:04 p.m.: Color Red sirens in many places in the south
11:05 p.m.: Explosion or explosions heard in or near one of the smaller villages
11:09 p.m.: Two rocket attacks confirmed - open damage except for the fear inflicted on small children as their parents wake them from sleep and carry them to protected areas. Hopefully to fall asleep again...and dream only good things.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kushner - From Israel: Various

Arlene Kushner..
29 December '11..

The "Arab Spring" has made available increased amounts of weaponry that Hamas has been able to smuggle into Israel in the past year. Some 15% to 20% more. Most worrisome is the possibility that sophisticated, laser-guided Russian anti-tank missiles and shoulder-to-air missiles (such as those that have disappeared from Libyan warehouses) have found their way into Gaza.

Always, when I read this sort of thing, I wonder at what point it becomes prudent to act preemptively. Don't have the answer. But I think about it. These reports have the effect of making Israelis feel just a bit like sitting ducks.

The word is that the IDF is prepared to go in at any time, and that, in fact, active duty brigades have begun carrying out drills in preparation for a possible operation.

The question is at what point the political leadership might decide to give the word.


If there is an operation, it would essentially be in response to rockets that continue to be launched from Gaza time and again -- to which the Air Force responds in a limited fashion. Or at least this is how it would be spun, even if preemption with regard to new weaponry was part of the motivation.

Elder - SA CEO responds to critics for selling Israeli products, Muslims seethe

Elder of Ziyon
28 December '11

From IOL News (South Africa):

Ivan Saltzman, the chief executive of pharmacy giant Dis-Chem, is embroiled in an ugly spat with a Durban woman over the retailer’s decision to sell Israeli-made skin care products.

The spat began when Fathima Moosa visited the Westwood Mall branch of Dischem and noticed that they were selling Dead Sea products made in Israel.

She later submitted an online letter of complaint, asking them to remove the products on the basis that Israel’s “human rights violations replicate Hitler’s Nazism”.

After Dis-Chem’s initial response that the products were not going to be removed, Moosa demanded that her e-mail be forwarded to top management.

Twenty days later, Saltzman responded to her personally, telling her that likening Israel’s supposed human rights violations was a “a scurrilous slur that you have clearly chosen to employ in order to give maximum offence”.

The spat which has since seen the Islamic Media Review Network get involved with an open letter to Saltzman now threatens to turn into boycott of Dis-Chem by pro-Palestinian groups in SA.

(Read full "SA CEO responds to critics ...")

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Shine - Bible values

Dr. Chaim Shine..
Israel Hayom..
29 December '11..

On Wednesday, the annual International Bible Contest for adults was held at the International Convention Center in developing unified Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar and some 2,000 Bible aficionados were on hand to enjoy and marvel at the knowledge of the contestants, especially the woman who eventually placed second. The reinstitution of the contest for adults (in recent years the competition has only been held for students) represents the desire among many Israelis to reacquaint themselves with the Jewish bookcase, especially "the" book – the Bible. These days, Israelis are a manifestation of the prophecy of Amos: There will be a hunger in the land, not for bread, not for water, but for God's word.

We humans are currently witnessing a massive clash of civilizations. No one can prophesy who will emerge victorious. Jews who are well versed in the Bible know for a fact that, though history's greatest empires collapsed and disappeared, the people of Israel have always survived, against all odds. The wonder of Israel's ability to survive can be found in the Bible – the root of our existence.

During these times, when world nations are denying the Jews' exclusive right to the Land of Israel, it is very important to study the Bible – the source of this exclusive right. Not only is it important to study the Bible, it is equally important to experience it. There were times when schoolchildren in Israel would go on field trips with a copy of the Bible in their hands. They quickly discovered that their feet were treading on the very land that their ancestors had walked upon thousands of years before them. The stories of the Bible came alive.

Tobin - Hamas Leader’s Tour Theme: Fight “Judaization” of Jerusalem

Jonathan S. Tobin..
28 December '11..

The tour of Arab capitals being conducted by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh should throw cold water on the idea that the Hamas-Fatah unity pact will result in greater Palestinian flexibility and willingness to make peace with Israel. Haniyeh, who was in Cairo yesterday as part of his triumphant journey through the Middle East, made it clear that Hamas’ priority remains heating up the conflict with the Jewish state. By using the visit to call upon Muslims and Arabs to fight against what he called the “Judaization” of Jerusalem, the leader of the Gaza-based terror movement shone a spotlight on a new phase of incitement toward violence.

In attempting to rally Muslims to “defend” the city against the Jews, Haniyeh is following in the footsteps of past generations of Islamist leaders who sought to foment violence against Jewish targets. Considering that Hamas’ declared goal is the eviction of Jews from all of the Jewish state, his declaration that Israel is planning an “ethnic cleansing” of the city and, indeed, the whole country, rings false. But, coming as it did at the end of the festival of Chanukah, which commemorates the Jewish effort to hold onto their capital and holy places, his statements ought to sober up any Israelis who thought the unity pact might heighten the chances for peace.

Leibler - Losing the War of Words Due to Incompetence

Isi Leibler..
Candidly Speaking from Jerusalem..
29 December '11..

In the war of ideas, we operate under huge handicaps. Our adversaries attract sympathy as underdogs, yet carry enormous economic and political clout and effectively control international institutions like the UN. In addition, they have hijacked NGOs purportedly promoting human rights, yet are at the forefront of racist campaigns to demonize and delegitimize us. It is disgraceful that many western journalists collaborate with them.

Australia has consistently maintained a staunch bipartisan friendship with the Jewish State since its creation. Under the current Labor government headed by Julia Gillard, it remains, like the United States and Canada, one of the few countries where Israel still gets a fair hearing.

On November 26, John Lyons, the accredited Jerusalem reporter for The Australian, the leading national daily, wrote a 3000 word feature lambasting alleged inhumane Israeli treatment of Palestinian children.

Although The Australian has a consistent record of being fair and open-minded in relation to Israel, this was a classic compendium of anti-Israeli vilification, reminiscent of the wildest distortions and fabrications contained in the Goldstone report.

Dann - Blood libel: The myth of ‘private Palestinian land’

Moshe Dann..
Op-Ed Contributor..
28 December '11..

Because land on which most settlements are built is not agriculturally useful, Arabs did not claim ownership until recently.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s assertion that Jews would not be allowed to build on private Palestinian land is a long-standing policy endorsed by Israeli governments and the judicial system.

The question, however, is what constitutes “private Palestinian land” and who decides what is and what is not private Palestinian land? If it is true that Jews are stealing land, this violates Jewish and Israeli laws and values and justifies calls for boycotts, sanctions and even the elimination of the state, since it applies to areas acquired after 1948 as well as in 1967. A devastating moral and legal indictment, it would undermine Israel’s moral foundation, its raison d’etre.

Promoted by Arab propagandists and their supporters, politicians, academics, media and anti-Israel NGOs, this theory has also been adopted by Israelis, including prominent judicial figures who give it legitimacy. A poisoned narrative based on ignorance and/or misunderstanding, it is a lie.

Based on titles and deeds, land that is registered becomes private property. But what if there are no documents to prove ownership?

Visser/Shaked - The Palestinian deception

Yochanan Visser, Sharon Shaked..
Israel Opinion/Ynet..
28 December '11

Palestinians speak language of peace to West, preach hate and war in Arabic

Eighteen years have passed since the signing of the Oslo accords, and it seems justifiable to reach the conclusion that there will be no final-status agreement that will solve the Arab Israeli conflict in the foreseeable future.

The recent reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – including the announcement that Hamas will join the PLO - is further evidence that Mahmoud Abbas was never sincere in pursuing a peace agreement with Israel.

Now that the chimera of a “peace process” has been exposed, the time has come to finally face the truth.

The Palestinian leadership has deceived Israel and the international community by speaking the language of “peace” to Western English-speaking audiences, while continually preaching hate and war to their own people in Arabic.

Duplicity and deceit have long concealed the true intentions of the Palestinian Authority, but its most recent actions and rhetoric have definitively revealed that it is not truly interested in peace and reconciliation with the Jewish state.

Fresnozionism - Reports of Hamas moderation greatly exaggerated
27 December '11

Every so often we hear that Hamas has decided to change its spots:

[Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal and the PLO's Mahmoud Abbas] held a November 24 summit meeting in Cairo where they reportedly agreed on main three points: a Palestinian state will be established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; non-violent resistance will be the tool for achieving this goal; and legislative and presidential elections will take place on May 4, 2012. The first point tacitly acknowledges Israel’s right to exist and the second would align Hamas’ strategy with that of Abbas, who is committed to seeking a negotiated peace with Israel.

Jane’s Defence & Security Intelligence & Analysis was the first to report Hamas’ acceptance to give up armed resistance.

At their latest summit December 21, the two paved the way for Hamas to join the PLO, the Palestinian umbrella organization that to date has been dominated by the Fatah movement. Many observers took that as yet another signs that Hamas is moving to come closer to the Fatah position. — Mohammed Najib, Media Line

If this were true, it might be a problem for Ismail Haniyeh, the ‘Prime Minister’ of the Gaza Strip. Two days before the summit, he gave this speech:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tobin - Turkey, Israel and the Armenian Genocide

Jonathan S. Tobin..
28 December '11..

It goes without saying that had Turkey not spent the last few years doing everything it could to destroy its erstwhile alliance with Israel there would have been no debate in the Knesset yesterday about whether to commemorate the Turkish genocide of Armenians during World War I. But since the Turks have become the sponsors and perhaps even the financial backers of Hamas, the consensus within the Israel to stay away from anything touching the Armenian question has dissolved. Though there were some MKs who thought the commemoration should be shelved as part of a new effort to win back the affections of Turkey, most Israelis rightly understand the ship has sailed on good relations with its former ally.

The discussion will, it should be admitted, do nothing to ameliorate the now tense relationship, let alone revive the now shattered alliance between the two nations. With the Turks, as Max noted yesterday, willing to engage in name calling and accusations with France over the genocide issue, there can be no doubt that the Knesset’s session will only widen the breech between Ankara and Jerusalem. But rather than a mystery, the Turks’ decision to make a nearly century-old controversy a diplomatic litmus test can be understood in light of their history. Their unwillingness to bend even a little bit on the Armenians must be understood as something that speaks to their national identity and is unlikely to be dropped anytime soon.

NGO Monitor - Human Wrongs: The Worst of Amnesty, HRW, and others in 2011

NGO Monitor..
28 December '11..

As 2011 concludes, NGO Monitor released a list (below) of the most outrageous and absurd NGO actions from the past year, demonstrating the political nature of NGOs involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. NGO Monitor also published an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post on the NGOs' lack of preparedness in 2011 during the Arab Springs. Another op-ed appeared in JTA as a letter to Tom Friedman and Hillary Clinton, facetiously discussing the state of American democracy.

The list:

1. Amnesty International's new Israel Researcher, Deborah Hyams, has a history of radical anti-Israel activism.

2. HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson race-baited American Jews and ignored the embarrassment of having praised Saif-Islam Qaddafi as a human rights reformer.

3. German NGO "Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future (EVZ)" exploited government funding designated for Holocaust reparations and education in order to join the delegitimization campaign against Israel and added to new antisemitism.

4. Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned as "war crimes" the IDF response to the terror attack in Eilat.

Stern - One Menorah's Message

Paula R. Stern..
A Soldier's Mother..
28 December '11..

I got up early to drive Shmulik to the bus station; later I'm driving to the airport to pick up Lauren and Elie (and Aliza who had an overnight with her grandparents). My older daughter is at home with her baby; her husband enjoying this last day of Hanuka with his family before he returns to the army.

Elie is likely sleeping on the plane - or at least I hope he is. Shmulik is on a bus heading towards the base. Davidi is already at the course he is taking to become a volunteer on the ambulance, as his brothers and his older sister did before him. He has spent days and evenings of his entire vacation taking this course.

And I have 10 minutes before I'm going to force myself away from social media and blogs and get to work. I love writing for so many reasons and never have enough time to write for me, on what I want. I'm formatting one client's document (or at least checking over the work of one of my employees) and I'm finishing up writing and editing an amazing book for another client and I don't have a minute free next week...and it's only Wednesday.

Last week, I wrote about why I love Israel and got some great comments. I could write more about that...tons more and never be done. I know that people prefer the personal stories to the politics. I get that and I try. Okay, I don't succeed often enough, but I try. But this is my post...and I want to write.

Gordon - Best Option to Stop Nukes? The Military.

Evelyn Gordon..
27 December '11..

"Syria, he noted dryly, might well have nuclear weapons today “had it not been for Israel’s version of a nonproliferation policy ..."

Matthew Kroenig, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who formerly served as a special adviser on Iran policy in the Defense Department, has an excellent article in Foreign Affairs on why a U.S. attack on Iran is the least bad of the available options. Kroenig lays out a detailed argument for why military action is feasible, why it’s preferable to a nuclear Iran and what the U.S. could do to minimize the inevitable fallout, and I sincerely hope Washington policy makers are reading it.

But there’s another argument that’s worth adding to Kroenig’s list: the relative track records of military versus nonmilitary efforts to stop nuclear proliferation.

In an article in the New York Times last week, another former U.S. official intimately involved in nuclear policy — Robert Gallucci, who served as chief negotiator with North Korea during President Bill Clinton’s administration — criticized the Bush administration for not taking a hard line on Pyongyang’s transfer of nuclear technology to Damascus. Syria, he noted dryly, might well have nuclear weapons today “had it not been for Israel’s version of a nonproliferation policy — aerial bombardment of the site.” And while Gallucci didn’t mention it, the same is true of Iraq.

Elder - The disappearance and reappearance of Palestinian Arab nationalism, 1949-1968

Elder of Ziyon..
27 December '11..

Palestinian Arab nationalism effectively sprung out of thin air in 1920. Up until then, with very little exception, it was subsumed under the desire to be a part of "Greater Syria" which would include all of Palestine - and leave no room for a Jewish state.

As soon as the ink dried on the San Remo resolution, Palestinian Arab leaders changed their tune, and embraced the idea of an Arab Palestine that would, again, ensure that no Jewish state would ever exist.

After 1948, the desire for a Palestinian Arab state disappeared again. Palestinian Arabs in the west bank of the Jordan became citizens of that country; those in Gaza saw their land occupied by Egypt. Neither of them showed the slightest interest in their own state - the desire just disappeared.

What replaced it was a return to 1919's Syrian-style pan-Arabism, and the person they believed could help them was Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Here is an interesting AP story from 1957:

Yes, Palestinians in Gaza in 1957 wanted to be under the administration of Egypt - not to have their own country!

In fact, Jordan's King Hussein's major problem during that time was the threat from Nasser, who incited Jordanian Palestinians to revolt against him and even to assassinate him, so the entire Arab world could be Nasserist.

What happened to their vaunted nationalism? Where was their desire for an independent state that their leaders spoke about so eloquently during the 1940s?

It is apparent that the desire for a state was far less than the desire to destroy Israel, which was Nasser's selling point to them. "Liberating Palestine" meant liberating it - from Jews.

(Read full "The disappearance and reappearance of Palestinian Arab nationalism")

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Frantzman - Un-original shooting

Seth J. Frantzman..
Terra Incognita..
27 December '11..

Photographer Fredric Brenner promised to portray Israel beyond the stereotypes in his latest project, but the artists have predictably created an orgy of clichés.

An attempt to create a traveling photographic exhibition of Israel has yielded predicable results; an orgy of clichés. Perhaps this is not surprising given the traditional mix of idealism, Jewish donors, fear of politicization, Israeli intellectuals as guides and requests that the project move beyond black and white stereotypes.

The project, called “Israel: Portrait of a Work in Progress,” was the brainchild of Frederic Brenner. A French photographer, he is best known for his book Diaspora: Homelands in Exile which was billed as “the most extensive visual record of Jewish life ever recorded.” He decided that he wanted to bring world renowned photographers to Israel in order to present a more diverse image of the country.

“[I was] very sad to see how Israel was being portrayed...We were in a binary paradigm – for and against, victim and perpetrator. There was such a lack of complexity in describing this place,” he said.

According to The New York Times participants were supposed to “spend six months exploring the country’s deep and many fault lines to create a body of work that might reframe the conversation about Israel.” To fund the project Brenner raised $3.5 million from Jewish donors in the US and Europe. Donors included the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, which aims (according to the website) to support projects that deal with “Jewish life,” foster tolerance and an “open an exchange of ideas that goes beyond politics and stereotypes to a place of rich complexity and understanding that is essential to shaping the future of Israel.”

The photographers were afraid of being “instrumentalized” so it was important that no money came from an Israeli government source. Nevertheless the project received support from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Mishkenot Sha’ananim.

Stern - Three Years...a Video of Cast Lead

Paula R. Stern..
A Soldier's Mother..
27 December '11..

I recognize so many of the weapons, so much of the equipment...from stories Elie told me...three years...and one of my greatest wishes is that I never, ever, ever have to live through another's a wish that won't come true...and yet I make it anyway.

Eight candles of Hanuka are burning in our window - in a few short hours, Elie will be on a plane back from the US with Lauren...please God, never again.


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

(Video) PMW - Promoting violence & terror

26 December '11..

Hamas leader Haniyeh: Armed resistance is the path, Palestine is from the sea to the river

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh:

"We say today, explicitly, so it cannot be explained otherwise, that the armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers [Israel] from the blessed land of Palestine. The Hamas movement will lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine - all of Palestine, Allah willing. Allah Akbar and praise Allah. We say with transparency and in a clear manner, that Palestinian reconciliation - and all sides must know this - cannot come at the expense of [our] principles, at the expense of the resistance. These principles are absolute and cannot be disputed: Palestine - all of Palestine - is from the sea to the river. We won't relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine. The involvement of Hamas at any stage with the interim objective of liberation of [only[ Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem, does not replace its strategic view concerning Palestine and the land of Palestine."
[Al-Aqsa (Hamas), Dec. 14, 2011]


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Levick - The Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood Tweets: “What Palestinian incitement?”

Adam Levick..
CiF Watch..
27 December '11..

We already responded to a Dec. 11th straight news story by Phoebe Greenwood, the Guardian’s new Israel correspondent, which implicitly questioned the validity of evidence consistently offered by Palestinian Media Watch of incitement in Palestinian schools.

However, her report was not a polemic, and thus, by merely citing Palestinians who questioned PMW’s work, protected her from charges that she similarly possessed such doubts.

The wonderful thing about Twitter, however, is that it often provides a glimpse into the political views of correspondents who otherwise hide their ideological orientation behind rhetorical obfuscation.

As such, a recent Tweet confirms that Greenwood indeed doubts whether such incitement permeates Palestinian schools and textbooks.

Her mention of Moshe Ya’alon is likely a reference to a talk given the other night, which I attended (and perhaps Greenwood, too), where the Vice Premier noted Palestinian incitement as one of the obstacles to peace.

Okay, Ms. Greenwood, I’ll take that challenge.

(Read full "The Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood Tweets ...")

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Khaled Abu Toameh - Why Hamas Wants To Join the PLO

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Hudson New York..
27 December '11..

Hamas's decision to join the PLO is seen by some Western analysts and governments as a sign that the Islamist movement is headed toward "moderation" and "pragmatism."

But in 2012, if the agreement with Abbas is implemented, Hamas will take control over the PLO.

Hamas is joining the PLO not because it has changed, but out of a desire to make the Fatah-dominated organization stick to its true mission: the liberation of Palestine from Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea -- in other words, all the land that is currently Israel -- and to achieve the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees to their original villages and homes inside Israel.

Once Hamas takes control over the PLO, it will seek to cancel all agreements and understandings reached between the organization and Israel, above all the 1993 Oslo Accords. Hamas also wants the PLO to withdraw its recognition of Israel.

Hamas leaders and spokesmen are openly saying that joining the PLO does not mean that they would recognize Israel's right to exist or abandon the "armed struggle" against the Jewish state.

"Anyone who thinks that Hamas has, or will, change is living under an illusion," declared Hamas representative Osama Hamdan.

Hornik - Obama Shifting to Mideast ‘Conflict Management’?

P. David Hornik..
27 December '11..

Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, a deep thinker and close colleague of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, claimed to a Jerusalem audience this week that Israel has talked some sense to President Barack Obama about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We convinced the American administration,” Yaalon said, “that there is no way to solve the conflict in one or two years…. The US is trying to manage the conflict now, rather than solve it.”

Reporter Gil Hoffman notes that “there has been no public indication that the Americans have given up their hope of solving the conflict, and the US helped draft the Quartet position that aims to solve the conflict by the end of 2012.”

And just a few weeks ago Defense Secretary Leon Panetta sounded as sure as ever that the conflict could be solved if the parties would just “get to the damn table” and Israel would “reach out” to its neighbors and be more pliable.

Yaalon, for his part, gave Obama less credit on Iran, saying that “France and Great Britain are leading the West now in calling for crippling sanctions on the Iranian central bank and preventing Iran from exporting oil, while the US is unfortunately leading from behind.”

Still, as Hoffman points out, Yaalon’s words regarding the Palestinian issue constitute “the first time a high-ranking Netanyahu administration official has indicated that the US had shifted from conflict resolution to management.”

If Yaalon is right, one would expect an easing of the administration’s pressure on Israel regarding this issue—pressure that has been obsessive and often brutal.

Glick - Netanyahu's misleading lessons in governance

Caroline Glick..
26 December '11..

Many of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's supporters were stunned last week when IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz announced he was promoting Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon to major general and appointing him to serve as the next commander of the Central Command.

Alon completed a two-year tour of duty as Judea and Samaria Division Commander in October. During his tenure, Alon distinguished himself as the most radical, politically insubordinate officer to have held the position in recent memory.

In an interview with The New York Times in October, Alon openly sought to undermine and discredit declared government policy. He called for the US Congress to continue to fund the Palestinian Authority's security services despite the PA's decision to ditch the peace process.

Alon argued in favor of withdrawing completely from Judea and Samaria, insinuating that the government is wrong to believe that the Gaza withdrawal, which led to the rise of Hamas, should serve as a precedent for Judea and Samaria.

Alon opined that the IDF cannot be expected to bring security to the Israeli public if the government isn't involved in a peace process with the PLO. As he put it, "We can't do our mission only with military tools," he said. "Diplomacy and economy are very relevant."

Throughout his two years on the job, Alon went out of his way to demonize and attack Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria. Without evidence, Alon claimed continuously that acts of vandalism against Arab property in Judea and Samaria and inside of the 1949 armistice lines is the work of Jewish residents of the areas.

He referred to the hooligans responsible for the vandalism as "Jewish terrorists." He repeatedly equated these acts of vandalism, commonly referred to as "price tag" operations with Palestinian terrorism.

ALON'S MORAL equivalence between vandalism allegedly committed by Israelis and acts of terrorism actually committed by Palestinians reached its public climax with the massacre of the Fogel family in Itamar in March. At the time, Israel Radio quoted a "senior IDF source" claiming that the murder of Ruth and Ehud Fogel and their three small children Yoav, Elad, and Hadas was an act of revenge by the Palestinians angered by recent vandalism allegedly perpetrated by Israelis. A quick investigation exposed that Alon was the "senior IDF source."

Fresnozionism - “How many times can they recall their ambassador?”

(Illustration from antisemitic
site blaming Jews for the
Armenian Genocide)..
26 December '11..

I’ve written numerous articles over the past few years about Jews, Israel and the Armenian Genocide. The subject is current yet again, as the Knesset is discussing whether or not Israel should officially recognize it.

My position has always been that the Genocide is a historical fact and should be recognized as such. The US has never done so — during the cold war, Turkey was considered an integral part of the anti-Soviet alliance, and it is still considered by the Obama Administration too important an ally to irritate unnecessarily, despite agitation by Armenians in the US (and to no small extent in Fresno, which is one of the centers of Armenian population in the US).

The US State Department has been happy to suggest that the failure to pass bills calling for recognition has been the fault of the “Israel Lobby.” Last year a local Armenian activist published an op-ed in the Fresno Bee pushing this theory. The article went so far as to say that “the Jewish lobby was complicit” in genocide denial, and since “denial is the last stage of genocide,” in genocide itself.

The Middle East is a complicated place, and there are not just two sides. Iran, Turkey and Egypt all see themselves as replacing the US as the major power in the region. Turkey has aspirations to expand its influence as a Sunni Islamist power, which have put it in conflict with Iran, Hizballah and the Assad regime in Syria. The US may be fooling itself in thinking that Turkey is an ally in this respect. Insofar as it is acting in concert with the US, it is doing so for its own motives. Although Turkey would try to punish the US in some fashion, I doubt there would be any major change in policy if Congress finally passed a bill recognizing the Genocide.

Stern - The Shades of Justice

Paula R. Stern
A Soldier's Mother
26 December '11

By now you have probably realized that I firmly believe that Israel and the army have enough detractors around the world to make me decide not to be one. For the most part, we've been very blessed in our "relationship" with the army (and if you are hearing a "but" in there, you are correct). Elie went in and from the beginning, they recognized in him the many facets I knew were buried inside. They found his love of order, his need and ability to command. They encouraged him to think - in the box, over the box, out of the box. They watched his ability to analyze situations and encouraged him; they found his love of fixing things and knowing how they work, and fed that too. All that he was ready and able to give, they took...and gave back so much more

And then came Shmulik - who is so different. He's more social than Elie; he needs that connection. He's quieter and yet more outgoing as well. So similar and yet so different than his older brother. And in this difference, the army too found peace. Shmulik wanted to be in combat. He pushed himself to succeed. What came so easy for Elie, was harder for Shmulik. In some ways, he is physically stronger than Elie, but the discipline was harder, the routine, the "do it because I said so" was tougher for him. It wasn't his desire to lead and when he realized that training for combat was causing him migraines that were more than he could stand, they gave him what he loved doing most. He asked to drive some commander - and they gave him the very commander of the base he was on - still with his friends, and even better...the commander lives in our city so he was home more. Shmulik gained incredible role model as an officer and a person. S. is a man who was severely injured by terrorists - and doctors wondered if he would walk again - today he runs - faster than Shmulik, farther, stronger. Shmulik learned that where the mind wills something, the body listens. They spent hours together driving around and seeing Israel and S. helped Shmulik discovered corners of himself and of the land he had never seen.

There were a few times over the past almost five years that I've been writing that the army faltered. There was the time they wanted to assign Elie to a unit to command female soldiers; and still they handled it well. There was the lone soldier from California who came here to give his all, was injured, and ultimately, the army did not handle it well.

That and other failures prove the Israeli army is, like all institutions of man, subject to the whims and weaknesses of human beings.

(Video) The Greatest Lie in the World

25 December '11

Most Israelis believe, that the people of Gaza live in misery. Many among us feel sorry for them, and claim if only there was someone to talk to, the closure would be removed, and life in Gaza would return to normal. Except, this is not the case. What you have seen, is the greatest deception in history, with the cooperation of both the Israeli and international media. Gaza, in truth, is a beautiful city, full of life. The misery, that they show for external consumption, is a portion of the campaign of deception created by the "Palestinians" from the establishment of the State of Israel. A deception that was joined and accepted by a portion of the media in Israel, as well as the world.

Uploaded by on Dec 25, 2011

Original link:

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Kushner - From Israel: Ya'alon Briefing

Arlene Kushner
26 December '11

Last night, Moshe Ya'alon, Minister of Security Affairs and Deputy Foreign Minister, spoke at a Likud Anglo event in Jerusalem.

I share here thoughts from his briefing:

The main threat Israel faces, he says, does not involve security issues external to us, but rather our level of confidence in ourselves: in our way of life, our culture, our faith. We are in the midst of Chanukah, and this holiday, above all, is about our spirit.


Part of what is required of us is strength in the face of what he referred to as "corrupt discourse." We must continue to see matters clearly and know what we stand for, even in the face of perceptual distortions and biases.

A key example of this is the so-called "Arab Spring," which is actually a geo-political earthquake. The notion that it is about democratization is a fairy tale.

What we are actually seeing around us in the Middle East is the collapse of the nation-state system, which was imposed artificially in this region. After WWI, European nations divided up the Middle East into "nations," drawing lines without regard to the various tribe, clans and other groups, including religious, that existed within the designated borders. They did this using the European nation-state as model. (There is a France, with a French people, etc. But, for example, Syria is governed by an Alawite minority, while the state contains within it Christian, Sunni, Shia, Druze and other groups). In point of fact, the imposition upon tribal societies of nations-states was patronizing.


And now the West is attempting to impose another value: democratization. Often the benchmark used is an election. But this alone does not define a democracy, and Islamic regimes distort the game -- using those elections for their own ends. Actual democratization is a slow process, with development of a free press, concern for human rights, etc.

CAMERA - Ha'aretz's Creative Headline of the Day

26 December '11

Ha'aretz's creative headline writer is at it again. While headlines are meant to convey the essence of the article as faithfully as possible, Ha'aretz's creative headline writer (HCHW) tends to craft headlines which best convey his/her political agenda. At times, the actual content of the article is at odds with said agenda, but our stalwart headline writer finds creative solutions to this problem.

And thus a page-one headline today reads (in the print edition):

With IDF's blessing, right-wing American group holds Hanukkah party at Anatot army base.

While Anshel Pfeffer's article says just that, it's not the main point of the article. The main point of the news story can be gleaned from its very first paragraph. (Note to Ha'aretz headline writer: As is taught in Journalism 101, the most important part of the story generally appears at the top of the article. Less important information appears further down. In professional lingo, this is called the inverted pyramid.) Anshel's first paragraph, ignored by HCHW, reads:

Organizations from all shades of the political spectrum are holding Hanukkah events this week at various army bases, with or without military authorization. (Emphasis added.)

And, about those left-wing groups, ignored by the politically-blinded HCHW, Anshel writes further along:

The other side of the political map [ie, the left] is also getting into the act. This week, the United Kibbutz Movement's Special Assignments Division is bringing high-school seniors to an infantry training base in the Negev, where they will meet with GOC Southern Command Tal Russo. The head of the division, Yoel Marshak, openly admits the political character of the event.

"We're encouraging our students to join regular combat units, like the Kfir Brigade, which serves in the territories, and not only the elite units," Marshak said, adding - "as a counterweight to the influence of the settlers."

For whatever reason, this article did not appear in Ha'aretz's Hebrew edition.


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Sultan Knish - Between Mecca and Jerusalem

Daniel Greenfield
Sultan Knish
25 December '11

Forget Athens and Jerusalem, the new dialectic is between Mecca and Jerusalem. On one side is support for the spread of a repressive theocratic ideology across the region and around the world through violence and intimidation, on the other side is the rise of indigenous states from the pre-Islamic era employing technology and ingenuity to transform the region.

Every time a politician pays tribute to Saudi Arabia, a journalist endorses the Arab Spring and a diplomat goes on about how Israel must make concessions to Islamic terrorists or it will destabilize the region, you see a man used to raising his arse and bowing his pate to Mecca.

It has become mainstream to speak of the Saudi royals as reformers and allies, while denouncing Israel as a reactionary backward state that's always causing trouble. The Saudis and their Gulf pals can pony up the Riyals to slam planes into the White House and the Pentagon, slowly behead women for witchcraft and promote an ideology so vicious that it gives Nazism an even run in the 100 meter genocide dash-- and come away with applause. But when an Israeli Prime Minister goes to the negotiating table with his worst enemies, he's greeted with a chorus of boos.

There was a time when Western capitals aspired to be the new Jerusalem, now they are turning into the new Mecca, the new Riyadh, the new Beirut and the new Cairo. Paris and London and a dozen other capitals have turned their back on Jerusalem and are quickly turning into meccas for Muslim immigrants and their Saudi funded mosques where barely beard speakers hiss hate into hand-held microphones.

On the foreign policy chessboard, their more upscale versions do the same. Scratch one of those dispassionate critics of Israel and you more often than not find a man with his head bent low toward Mecca.

Bryen - Panetta, Friedman and "The Damn Table"

Shoshana Bryen
Hudson New York
26 December '11

Criticism of Leon Panetta's demand that Israel "return to the damn table," and Tom Friedman's lament that Prime Minister Netanyahu's ovation before Congress "was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby" has been broad and deep. Writers from right to center (forget the left, who applauded both) denounced them, parsed them and tried to put them "in context." It is the context that is worrisome rather than their less-than-lovely language. The context is that if Israel and the Palestinians would both negotiate seriously, they would get to the "Two State Solution" beloved of the US and the Quartet.

Grant Panetta and Friedman the "damn table" and see what happens:

IF Israel sat at the table; IF Netanyahu agreed to a permanent settlement freeze; IF the Palestinians returned to the table; IF the Palestinians came under the "moderate" mandate of Fatah rather than "extremist" mandate of Hamas; IF they started with the 1949 Armistice Lines (the so-called 67 borders); IF they talked themselves blue in the face, they STILL would not get where Panetta, Friedman, et. al. want them to go.

Israelis and Palestinians have incompatible bottom lines that cannot be satisfied with a split and hostile rump State of Palestine (and a split, rump state would be hostile) wedged between the Mediterranean Sea, a nervous Israel and a more-nervous Jordan. No "peace process" can negotiate away the actual interests of the parties. No matter how much outsiders (Friedman and Panetta are just the tip of the iceberg) try to redefine those interests as something else, or demand that they be something else, or insist that they are, in fact, something else, the two stupid parties, the Israelis and the Palestinians, simply do not realize it -- hence the need for the ever-so-much-smarter Panetta and Freidman to pontificate.

Marquardt-Bigman - But what’s pro-Palestinian?

Petra Marquardt-Bigman
The Warped Mirror
26 December '11

The interminable debate about just how much “tough love” you can show for Israel and still claim to be really truly pro-Israel could perhaps greatly benefit from a comparison with the almost absent debate about what it means to be pro-Palestinian.

One thing seems to be crystal clear: forget about anything even remotely resembling tough love when you want to be regarded as pro-Palestinian.

A good example for this attitude is the prominent Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab, who is widely regarded by his western colleagues as a voice of reason and moderation. Kuttab served for some time on the board of the American Task force for Palestine (ATFP), a small Washington-based group that has deservedly gained impressive influence since its founding in 2003. ATFP defines itself as an American organization that seeks “to provide an independent voice for Palestinian-Americans and their supporters and to promote peace.” The group explicitly rejects violence and “advocates the development of a Palestinian state that is democratic, pluralistic, non-militarized and neutral in armed conflicts.”

However, Kuttab apparently came to believe that ATFP was not sufficiently pro-Palestinian. He resigned from the group and, explaining his reasons on his website, he emphasized: "The task force for Palestine has a duty to Palestine. The paternalistic attitude that Americans including American Palestinians know what is best for Palestinians and their leadership is an arrogant attitude that I can’t agree to be part of."

From Israel: "The PLO"

Arlene Kushner
Arlene from Israel
26 December '11

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), founded in 1964, is touted -- by the UN and a number of nations -- as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people." As such, it is officially the organization responsible for negotiating on behalf of Palestinian Arabs: It was the PLO that negotiated with Israel with regard to the Oslo Accords.

While 10 groups (e.g., Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - PFLP) are members, it has long been heavily dominated by Fatah: Major figures in Fatah -- notably Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas -- have played key roles in the running of the PLO.

That situation may be changing shortly, and I see considerable significance in this possibility.

On Thursday Palestinian Arab leaders representing several groups announced an "historic" agreement to "activate and reconstruct" the PLO so that organizations that do not currently belong might join. Most significantly, this would open the door to membership by Hamas, as well as the "up-and-coming" Islamic Jihad.


As I have watched a continually shifting situation with regard to Fatah-Hamas relations and the possibility of a "reunification" agreement, it has seemed to me that one of the major prizes that Hamas was seeking was membership in the PLO. More important than a joint government and all the rest -- most of which probably will never materialize.

This is a shift from its earlier position, which was one of shunning PLO membership -- a shift from having no part of this "official" organization to seeking to play from within. And make no mistake about it: The ultimate goal of Hamas is not to belong to the PLO, but to dominate and control it. Hamas speaking for and acting on behalf of the Palestinian Arab people.