The time has not yet come for the ground incursion, if indeed it will come as is predicted. I will not report on all of the various comments made — many contradictory — on what this incursion would be like. Only those truly on the inside know.
On Wednesday, a draft resolution presented to the UN Security Council by the Arab League was rejected, primarily because of the US. It was totally one-sided, not mentioning Hamas at all. Work is being done on a “balanced” resolution. Because of this, and other efforts afoot, it is felt pressure will build on us to reach a “diplomatic resolution” of the conflict. Now is the time for Olmert and company to stand strong.
Whether we’ll ever see a resolution in the UN is in doubt, however: As Hesham Yossef, chief of staff for the League’s secretary-general, explained, it is not certain that the League would accept any reference to Hamas rockets in a resolution.
In spite of this, I continue to see encouraging signs of a split in the Arab world, with countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey leveling criticism at Hamas at one level or another. Muhammad Bassiouny, head of the Egyptian parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, for example,asked, during a TV interview, “Where are the Hamas leaders now, when the residents of Gaza are getting killed? All of Hamas’s leaders are in the bunkers.”
In a response to Ismail Haniyeh, who said that “the Arab people have proven the Palestinian issue is in their hearts,” Bassiouny said, “No one [ i.e., among the Arabs] cares at all if the Palestinians are destroyed. What kind of talk is this?”
Tough talk from Bassiouny. He was telling a truth that is rarely spoken.
Tension is high between Egypt and both Hezbollah and Syria, with regard to Gaza. First came criticism by Nasrallah concerning Egypt’s reluctance to open the Rafah crossing to Gazans, which infuriated Mubarak. And now there are reports that Syria wanted a Security Council resolution that would force Egypt to open that crossing. Mubarak says he will not give Hamas this legitimacy.
Additionally, Egypt’s foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, has said that any resolution for a cease-fire must require Hamas to stop firing rockets. Otherwise (note the wording, which is standard) Israel will be given an excuse to attack.
Egypt intelligence has information that a Hamas terror cell had infiltrated Egypt, and it is being sought. Other Palestinians that Egyptian security has picked up are being returned to Gaza
Within Fatah itself there is a split with regard to what’s happening in Gaza. From Ramallah, Khaled Abu Toameh reports, in the Post, that Ziad Abu Ein, a deputy minister in the PA, called on Hamas to return the weapons it had confiscated from Fatah members in Gaza (during the Hamas take-over) so they could help fight in the IDF ground incursion. There are according to Abu Ein 70,000 Fatah loyalists still in Gaza who would help.
Some members of Fatah are accusing the PA leaders of “collusion” with Israel so that a return to Gaza will be possible. They point to the fact that the PA is not permitting demonstrations supporting Hamas.
An aide to Mahmoud Abbas, PA president, bitterly attacked Hamas, calling it a puppet of Iran. He vociferously denied that Abbas intends to return to Gaza “on an Israeli tank.”
Among the actions we took last night was the bombing of a mosque in Jabaliyah in the north of Gaza. The IDF says this was a storage site for a large number of Katyusha rockets, which is why several secondary explosions followed the attack.
There was a barrage of seven Grad Katyusha rockets launched at Ashkelon this morning — where one woman was injured; another landed in Ofakim. There are Kassams, as well, with eight hitting in Sderot alone, as well as in other localities; reportedly portions of Sderot are without electric power.
As would be expected, in various places internationally there is heightened Arab-Jewish tension, and some instance of violence against Jews.
What follows here was called to my attention by Celia Sacharow. On the “Boker Tov, Boulder” blog, there are two videos of a nasty pro-Hamas demonstration in Fort Lauderdale FL. Especially see the bottom video, which shows an Arab supporter (or an Arab?) screaming at Jews: “Go back to the oven. You belong in the oven!” Chilling. Not Paris, not London. Fort Lauderdale, for heaven’s sake. Should make everyone sit up and take notice.
Several readers called this to my attention, and so, with the help of Jeff Daube, I tracked it down. President-elect Obama said this back in July, when he was here in Israel and visited Sderot, and he was campaigning.
“If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything in my power to stop that, and would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”
You think now, when the implications are real, and he’s in the States, and not Israel, and he’s been elected, you think he would say this now?
I pray so.
A typo caught by Judith Nusbaum: The founder of Hamas was Sheikh Yassin, not Dassin.