Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)
There will be a short — unscheduled — hiatus in these postings in the next week or so, for the best of reasons: I will care for the other children when my daughter-in-law delivers.
In the meantime…
Today, according to the Jerusalem Post , PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad demanded (demanded? not requested?) that the Americans push Israel to come up with a document that would stand up to the Palestinian people’s "expectations."
Of course, in order to really meet those expectations we’d have to agree to cease existing, but never mind. The reality here — which is not being addressed — is that no one within the PA has ever told the people that if they want peace they have to compromise. They have been consistently led to believe that they have a right to it all and ultimately will get it.
Fayyad — who is seen as the most "moderate" — wants a deadline to negotiations and "bold moves" from Israel before the conference, including the release of another 2,000 prisoners. This is to restore the people’s confidence in the process, you see.
Fayyad and others in the PA are making a big deal out of the deployment of security personnel in Nablus (Shechem). This is happening months after they were supposed to do it and they are reportedly only deploying 300 men, not the 500 first agreed upon. This is supposed to demonstrate their readiness for a state and their good faith in fighting terrorism. But there seem to be some differences of opinion on what’s going on.
The PA says this is the first step towards transferring security control of Nablus to them, and after Nablus, the other cities. Israel, which has zero confidence in the PA ability to manage security, says this is supposed to be for maintaining law and order in the streets during the day only; Israel will continue to oversee security.
According to a Lebanese newspaper, Al-Akhbar , this morning, the US has given sanction for us to do a major operation in Gaza. This approval came, says the paper, after Israeli intelligence on arms and money smuggling into Gaza was shared with the Americans. This puts my back up: We need US permission to defend ourselves? That fear of acting on our own behalf is part of our problem.
But as things stand, if the US does give the OK for this, it means it’s more likely to happen. And yet — and yet! — the Israeli government is still reluctant to move ahead because it might complicate matters with the upcoming conference.
Incredible! To work towards a peace that is not going to materialize, we have to refrain from defending ourselves?
There are reports from the Post‘s very credible Khaled Abu Toameh that "scores" of men who used to serve with Fatah in Gaza, but have lost their jobs, have now joined Army of Islam, an al-Qaida affiliated group. Army of Islam is one of the groups associated with the Shalit kidnapping. The leader of this group, one Abu Muhammad al-Ansari, is a former PA preventive security officer. He is part of the Dughmush clan, whose members have been responsible for several kidnappings, including that of BBC reporter Alan Johnston. A top Hamas official calls him a "dangerous" man.
Additionally, according to Abu Toameh , Al Aksa in Gaza is claiming credit for firing 20 Kassams from Gaza recently. This, they say, it part of a military campaign in which hundreds of rockets will be launched into Israel, giving residents of Sderot the choice of leaving or dying.
And we delay on the operation into Gaza?
Abbas met in Ramallah on Friday with three members of Hamas located in Judea and Samaria — Faraj Rumaneh, Hussein Abu Quaik and Nasser a-Din al-Shaar — and prayed with them. The PA is playing this down, saying it was not an official meeting and didn’t mean anything.
Rumaneh and Abu Quaik had last week attempted to distance themselves from comments made by Hamas members in Gaza saying they would be taking over Judea and Samaria soon.
Now, according to Abbas’s advisor Ahmed Abdel Rahman these men met with Abbas to express their "rejection" of the statements made. "The members expressed their commitment to the legitimacy and the authority of Abbas…"
I don’t believe that’s quite how it was.
According to Abu Quaik, "Everybody in Hamas knew about this. This will contribute to strengthening our relationship, and lay the basis for national unity, God willing."
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said Abbas "had no problem" with Hamas as a movement, but only with those in Gaza "who deviated from the right path in carrying out a coup."
Please, note this well: No problem with Hamas as a movement. It’s when Hamas causes trouble for him that Abbas objects, not because Hamas is for violent destruction of Israel. If there were no other evidence that Abbas is not moderate, this alone would suffice.
The Guardian reported on Friday that Saudi Arabia says it will not attend the Annapolis conference unless there is significant agreement in advance on the core issues.