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October 15, 2009: A Facade of Unity

November 23, 2009

Khaled Abu Toameh writes in the Post today about the “forced marriage” between Fatah and Hamas — the reconciliation being shoved down their throats by Egypt.
These two parties — who “abhor” each other — are being pushed into a reconciliation of sorts.  I know of no serious analyst who thinks this will really become a stable situation.
Fatah, which has signed the agreement, found itself in a position of more or less having to do this as a result of the uproar that followed Abbas’s withdrawal of the demand that the Human Rights Council pursue the Goldstone Report (which withdrawal he has since reversed, but not before he had promoted enormous ill will for himself and his party).
We’re still waiting on Hamas’s formal acceptance.
A little glimpse into how volatile and hostile the situation is:
I shared in the last few days the fact that Hamas condemned Fatah for withdrawing its demand regarding the report, and that Abbas then lashed out at Hamas for lashing out at Fatah.
But here is a new wrinkle.  According to the Ma’an (Palestinian) news agency on Tuesday:
“Abbas accused Hamas leaders of fleeing to Sinai Peninsula in ambulances when the Gaza strip was under Israeli fire last winter…”
This is startling. 
The Goldstone Report says, “Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations that… ambulances were used to transport combatants…” (Paragraph 485).  The exceedingly dubious point being that there was no justification for Israel to have stopped or gone after ambulances.  And now Abbas says otherwise, thereby undercutting the reliability of what was said in the report (the very report he has now decided to promote vigorously again).  He was undoubtedly too angry at Hamas people, too busy trying to make them look like cowards, to consider the broader ramifications of what he said.
Will Hamas let this pass?  Arab pride should never be discounted.
Today Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said that Hamas wants to prosecute Abbas:
“A day will come when Abu Mazen [Abbas] will have to answer for his smear campaign against us…in a special court…We demand Abu Mazen name those he claims hid.  I want him to say exactly where he thinks we ran to. This man must stop trying to spread his lies.”
And in this Middle Eastern soap opera there is even more.  When Abbas began to promote the report, Israel was very angry, and released a statement saying that Abbas had originally urged us not to stop fighting until Hamas was completely defeated.  Needless to say, this does not sit well with Hamas either.
But any minute now sweetness and light will break forth and there will be unity between Fatah and Hamas.
And here’s another piece of the Goldstone story:  Alan Dershowitz has written an article in which he maintains that Goldstone is backing down.
“In an interview with Jewish Forward, Goldstone denied that his group had conducted ‘an investigation.’  Instead, it was what he called a ‘fact-finding mission’ based largely on the limited ‘material we had.’  …Goldstone acknowledged that ‘if this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.’  He emphasized to the Forward that the report was no more than ‘a road map’ for…investigators and that it contained no actual ‘evidence’ of wrongdoing by Israel.”  



Things are heating up in the north. 

According to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida, Syria, reluctant to take on Israel directly, is supplying Hezbollah with arms instead.  Reportedly, Syria transferred one quarter of its arsenal of middle- and long-range missiles to Hezbollah, and every part of Israel can now be hit. The paper cites Israeli security forces as the source of its information. 

While senior Israeli defense officials, in more direct statements, are now saying that thousands of weapons caches have been placed in civilian homes scattered in 160 villages in southern Lebanon.  Hezbollah possession of weapons south of the Litani River represents a violation of SC Resolution 1701, which has been largely ignored.  

Having the weapons in the south makes it easier for Hezbollah to access them and increases their reach into Israel.  The fact that they are in homes raises the whole specter of human shields again. 

Much must be made of this now, it seems to me, with all possible evidence provided, so that when we ultimately go after those caches of weapons, we are not again accused of “war crimes.” 

This entire issue was in the news this past week because of an explosion of a stockpile of weapons in a home in a village near Tyre.


Turkey’s behavior — with regard to its relationship with Israel — is moving on a path of serious deterioration.  Following the cancellation of joint military maneuvers with us, the Turks announced that they would hold maneuvers with Syria. 

Following this a highly inflammatory and inciteful program was aired on government-controlled TV. The first program this week, in what is planned as a series about a Palestinian family in the West Bank, shows IDF soldiers killing a baby and a young girl, and lining up people for execution. 

Calling this “the gravest form of incitement,” Foreign Minister Lieberman said that the Turkish envoy (the previous Turkish ambassador to Israel has left and has not yet been replaced) would be summoned in protest.

“The Good News Corner”
In June, 2002, Boaz Shabo lost his wife and three of their children in a terrorist attack.  In the midst of a week of murderous attacks, a terrorist, shooting wildly, infiltrated the community of Itamar, in Samaria, and entered the Shabo home.
Boaz moved with his remaining four children to Kedumim, to be near relatives.  Two years ago, he was married again; his new wife, Hila, brought her five children with her into the family.
At the beginning of this year, Hila became pregnant. She delivered over the Sukkot holiday:  TRIPLETS.
Said Boaz, “it was a total surprise – something so symbolic that only G-d can understand or explain it. Though it’s impossible to forget those who were killed, this is a very joyous occasion for all of us.

“The way to rebuild is by getting married again… There cannot be a 100% recovery from something like what happened to us; we are always shadowed by the loss of a mother and three children. But with love and with faith, a decision like this brings much joy… Our house is now full of children and life.

“[Our enemies] should know that they will not be able to defeat us.  As the Torah says, the more they oppress us, the more we will prosper.”
As to dealing with three infants, Boaz said, “It won’t be easy – but a lot of things have not been easy over the past few years. I tried to look at everything from the positive, optimistic side, and put the difficulties aside; I think that 50% of the problems are psychological. If a person says that it will be hard, then it will be hard. But if you decide to try to get up in the morning with a smile, and know you are headed in the right direction, then it will be much easier for you.  You can’t let the obstacles stop you; put them aside.

“I just want to emphasize: Never give in to despair. There is always a light at the top, even if it might involve a hard climb. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, at which can be found light, happiness, faith, and all of our goals.”
And this, I think, is the answer to all of the heavy news reported above and on so many days.  The people of Israel have breathtaking resilience, founded in love and faith. And our enemies will not be able to defeat us.
(My thanks to my daughter Sharon R. for calling my attention to this from Arutz Sheva.)




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