Behold the mitigating effect of the ceasefire on the Palestinians: in a mass demonstration last Friday tens of thousands of Palestinians expressed their support of prime minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, and protested against a unity government which would not be lead by him. Haniyeh, currently in Iran on his first foreign trip, explained once more what Hamas is all about:
"The world arrogance (U.S.) and Zionists ... want us to recognize the usurpation of the Palestinian lands and stop jihad and resistance and accept the agreements reached with the Zionist enemies in the past," Haniyeh told thousands prayer worshippers in a speech at Tehran University. "I'm insisting from this podium that these issues won't materialize. We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem...
The popular Palestinian government not only has not recognized the occupiers but also considers resistance the natural right of the Palestinian nation."
MP Mohammed Al Shihab wrote the following
in memory of a Palestinian grandmother who chose martyrdom over the caring for her children and grandchildren:
"Imagine, together with me, what could happen in another few years, if millions of believers, men and women, decided to break through [their] fears and lunge forward to resistance, jihad, and martyrdom in Palestine - just like 'the mother of the self-sacrificing women', Umm Muhammad. What would be the fate of the occupying invaders? They are only thieves and robbers, and they have no history, culture, or roots in this land.
The best decision they could make would be to pack their suitcases and disappear from our lives."
I hope that Western media took note. How to fit this in with the ceasefire and the broader goal of renewing peace negotiations, is beyond me. In light of this the following observations from the Israeli Military Intelligence
come as no surprise:
If the cease-fire falls apart, the IDF believes it will be headed toward a major conflict in Gaza. Despite the cease-fire, the Palestinians are smuggling high-grade explosives and advanced weaponry into the Strip.
Hamas has set up a 10,000-strong military, consisting of four brigades corresponding to four sections of the Gaza Strip. This army is believed to be armed with advanced anti-tank missiles, Grad-type Katyusha rockets and anti-aircraft missiles, possibly shoulder-fired, Soviet-made SA-7s.
MI's assumption is that the cease-fire will last another few weeks at most.
The major problem is that unlike the cease-fire before the unilateral disengagement, this time the Palestinians do not have an incentive to enforce it.
Hamas has money for such militias and advanced weaponry despite the official stop in financial aid to the Palestinian Authority by the EU and the USA. Actually the Palestinians received more money this year than in previous years
, from states like Iran and Qatar as well as from the EU.
Despite a boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian government, the European Union has found ways to increase its total aid to the Palestinian people, most recently helping support thousands of needy families, an EU official said Tuesday.
The EU said its contribution to the Palestinians has increased by 27% from last year, to EUR651 million, though the EU, U.S. and Israel have banned direct aid to the Palestinian government.
According to the International Monetary Fund the Palestinian government received more foreign aid between April and September this year ($420m) than over the same period in 2005 ($230m) when Fatah was still in power. Also Hamas officials have smuggled a total of over $66m into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the last eight months.
So it appears to be a fairy tale that the international 'boycott' of the Palestinian Authority has made the Palestinians bleed for their free political choice. Obviously it would be better if the PA would use all of this money to the benefit of the population instead of using it to build a 10,000 man strong militia and acquiring Katyusha rockets, but that is the choice of the sovereign Palestinian government.
Some Palestinians seem to be clueless to the fact that certain actions have certain consequences. Public calls for violence by the prime minister undermine the ceasefire. Qassam and Katyusha rockets on Israeli cities lead to renewed Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip. Calls to attack the capital of a sovereign state will not be met with compliance by that state, and will not lead to more concessions. It will empower the hardliners.
Still they persist in viewing themselves as powerless and passive victims, trampled upon by Israel and forgotten by the international community. The odd thing is that not only the Palestinians see their situation this way, but also a large number of people in the USA and Europe. No other people can count on so much support and understanding as the Palestinians can; no country is condemned and criticized so often as Israel is. And still the Palestinians feel they are being neglected and forgotten. Maybe we should stop confirming Palestinian victimhood and start treating them like a mature people, who are accountable for their actions. Ratna Pelle
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Last update - 16:33 08/12/2006Thousands attend Gaza rally calling for Haniyeh to remain PM
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies
Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters rallied in Gaza on Friday, demanding that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas head any Palestinian unity government, despite a deal for him to step aside as a means of restoring Western aid.
The public show of support for Haniyeh, a senior Hamas leader, puts pressure on the ruling militant movement to retain him as their candidate to lead a possible new cabinet.
That would further complicate unity government talks that moderate Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah faction has said are at a dead end.
"We want you [Haniyeh] to be the prime minister. We will not abandon your leadership of the cabinet," Ismail Rudwan, a Hamas spokesman, told the rally held in front of the Legislative Council in Gaza City.
"We demand the leadership of Hamas retain... Ismail Haniyeh as head of the government and head any coming government."
Earlier Friday, during a visit to Iran Haniyeh vowed that his Hamas-led government will never recognize Israel and will continue to fight for the liberation of Jerusalem.
"The world arrogance (U.S.) and Zionists ... want us to recognize the usurpation of the Palestinian lands and stop jihad and resistance and accept the agreements reached with the Zionist enemies in the past," Haniyeh told thousands prayer worshippers in a speech at Tehran University.
"I'm insisting from this podium that these issues won't materialize. We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem," he said.
Haniyeh arrived in Tehran on Thursday for talks with Iranian leaders, including hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, state-run media reported. This is Haniyeh's first tour abroad since Hamas took power in March.
Haniyeh praised the Iranians during his visit for the aid it has given the Palestinians.
"They [Israelis] assume the Palestinian nation is alone. This is an illusion. ... We have a strategic depth in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This country [Iran] is our powerful, dynamic and stable depth," he said.
Iran has provided the Hamas-led Palestinian government with $120 million this year despite a U.S.-led international financial boycott of the Palestinian government. The financial aid has boosted Iran's influence among Palestinians.
The Palestinian prime minister will also meet with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. He will also deliver a speech to students at Tehran University during his visit.
Iran has provided the Hamas-led Palestinian government with $120 million this year, increasing its aid to the militant group and boosting its influence among Palestinians amid an international economic boycott of the Palestinian Authority.
Muslims and independence-seeking nations support the Palestinians because they have adopted the correct position towards the occupiers," Iranian First Vice President Parviz Davoudi told Haniyeh at the start of his four-day visit to Iran.
"Iran is ready to offer its valuable achievements and experiences in different fields to the Palestinian nation," the official IRNA news agency quoted Davoudi as saying.
Iran's support for the Palestinians has grown more vocal since Ahmadinejad came to power in August 2005. The former Revolutionary Guardsman has called the Israeli state a "tumor" which must be "wiped off the map".
Haniyeh, whose tour was also to include Syria, thanked Iran for its support and said Palestinian resistance of Israel would continue. "The popular Palestinian government not only has not recognized the occupiers but also considers resistance the natural right of the Palestinian nation."
Haniyeh will meet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Ahmadinejad and deliver a speech to students at Tehran University during his visit, IRNA said.
The "Quartet" of Middle East mediators - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia - is pressing Hamas to recognize Israel, renounce violence, and accept previous agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
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Replies: 1 Comment
my response to the article is ... da .It should by now be clear even to the most delusional that the 'palestinian authority' is nothing but a corrupt thugocracy and will never be anything but that. In spite of being the recipients of the greatest per capita world charity their only products are hate and violence!
dr. Moshe Israel, Monday, December 11th
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