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August 5, 2008: The Good and the Bad

August 5, 2008

The recent incidents involving Hamas-Fatah violence have had some interesting and positive repercussions internationally.  Less and less is the world sympathetic to a people that goes at each other’s throats. 

The Sydney Morning Herald  has provided some examples of this feeling:

Mohammad Darawshe, co-director of the (US-based) Abraham Fund:

“Hamas might win the battle, but this behavior makes it so much harder to win international support to create an independent state. This is the behavior of a brutal dictatorship, not a political party working towards advancing the interests of its people.”

Gabriel Motzkin, Hebrew University professor: 

“It is beyond doubt that there are now two separate Palestinian territories, so who does Israel deal with? Mahmoud Abbas does not speak for Palestinians in Gaza. And Hamas is not interested in any negotiations with Israel at all. This civil war makes a permanent solution impossible to negotiate.”

The question, of course, is how long it will take before the Israeli government and the US government wake up and face the reality here.


A vacillating Fatah has come out looking really bad.  In the end, I must note, it was fewer than 90 people from the Hilles clan in Gaza that went to Jericho, while some dozens of others were returned to Gaza.  I am assuming, but have no solid information on this, that the security status and official connections of those concerned were prevailing factors.


And — in spite of the sense that there was madness in our rush to risk our boys to save Fatah men being pursued by Hamas — we have accrued some very positive PR.

I especially like this from the Daily Star in Lebanon (from an Arab nation!):

“We have seen Palestinians making war on other Palestinians while the Jewish state has come to the rescue of those who fear for their lives. Israel has never looked so good.”


Bravo to MK Limor Livnat (Likud). She has sent a letter to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, requesting that he “instruct the prime minister to halt the carrying out of diplomatic contacts with the Palestinian Authority and with Syria (excepting vital and urgent matters) until the formation of a new government, just as was the practice for past governments.”

Her argument: 

“Upon the announcement  [of pending resignation] of the prime minister, the government of Israel became, in practice, – if not also strictly according to law – a transitional government…

“The Supreme Court set in a series of decisions, that when a prime minister resigns from office, the government and its ministers are to act with the reserve appropriate for the standing of a retiring government, and to act only on pressing matters. This position is also set explicitly in Basic Law: Government… 

“The …negotiations with the Palestinian Authority have been carried out for a long period by various Israeli governments. We are talking about processes whose outcomes may have a major influence on the future of the State for many years to come. The continuation of these contacts during the short period remaining until the replacement of the current government varies from the area of reasonableness. There is no critical public need for the carrying out of negotiations during the short period remaining for this government, and it is prohibited that such important and critical negotiations be carried out…when…what is said…may tie the hands of the next prime minister and government ministers. The self control in the exercise of the authority of the regime require the prime minister not to tie the hands of the next government and not to hurriedly complete complicated processes that have been underway in one form or another for years.”

For fuller legal arguments see: http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=40209

The problem here, among many, is that the left-leaning Mazuz likely is pleased with what Olmert is doing with regard to negotiations.  What further recourses might remain to Livnat and her associates I do not know.


The deadline for Iran to reply to an international offer for an incentives package has passed — although an negative response is expected soon.  The media is filled with news and ominous predictions about what comes next.

Rafsanjani has announced that Iran the first stage of nuclear fusion.

The State Department says more severe sanctions are in order.

And John Bolton has sent a most sober and somber warning:

“The rationality of continued Western negotiations with Iran depends on two assumptions: that Iran is far enough away from having deliverable nuclear weapons that we don’t incur excessive risks by talking; and that by talking we don’t materially impede the option to use military force. Implicit in the latter case is the further assumption that the military option is static – that it remains equally viable a year from now as it is today.

“Every day that goes by allows Iran to increase the threat it poses, and the viability of the military option steadily declines over time…

“Iran is pursuing two goals simultaneously, both of which it is comfortably close to achieving. The first — to possess all the capabilities necessary for a deliverable nuclear weapon — is now almost certainly impossible to stop diplomatically. Thus, Iran’s second objective becomes critical: to make the risks of a military strike against its program too high, and to make the likelihood of success in fracturing the program too low. Time favors Iran in achieving these goals. U.S. and European diplomats should consider this while waiting by the telephone for Iran to call.”

See his full article,  “While Diplomats Dither, Iran Builds Nukes,” in the Wall Street Journal at:


In truth, this issue overshadows all the other issues we deal with.  The issue of timing — how long can we wait before making a strike — is paramount.


In passing here, likely with more to follow:  Taking the title, “FreeGaza,” Pro-Palestinian NGOs (non-profits), including some in the US, have taken on a venture to “break the Gaza blockade.”  A group of activists are waiting in Cyprus for the arrival of two ships, which are supposed to pick them up and move down the Mediterranean in an attempt to land on the Gaza coast. 

The Israeli navy is preventing ships from reaching that Gaza shore because of a serious issue of smuggling of weapons for use by terrorists against Israeli civilians.

I have studied the literature of this group, which, needless to say, is rife with misrepresentations.  Israel is represented as the bad guy — keeping poor innocent Gazans locked up out of the most malicious motivations. Nowhere is Hamas terrorism mentioned.  Nowhere is it said that there would be no need for a blockade if weapons weren’t being brought in and used. Nowhere are the people of Gaza called upon to be peaceful.

One of the claims made is that humanitarian aid workers are not allowed into Gaza. This, I know for fact, is false. Actually, for all that is said about the siege of Gaza, the reality is, as well, that large numbers of trucks bearing items for use in Gaza are permitted by Israel to go in regularly.  Some might be qualified as emergency humanitarian relief, but one is struck, when learning about all that is brought in, by how much is not of an emergency nature at all:  furniture, anti-dandruff shampoo, etc. 

They also claim that some of them are not even allowed into Israel. And my response here is that there are undoubtedly reasons why not.  But what is most disturbing for me is that there is a handful of Israelis who are participating. These are the sort of people who work to damage the state.

I learned from the project coordinator today that there will journalists on the ship, and one of them is Lauren Booth, who is the sister-in-law of Tony Blair.



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