Popular Resistance Committees — one of the groups involved with the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, along with Hamas — warns Israel that if there is a military attempt to rescue him, they will no longer be willing to negotiate. Cute, considering how sincerely they’ve been negotiating until now. Egypt reports that their attempts to mediate stalled because the kidnappers refused to accept Israel’s offer of the release of 1,000 prisoners. They want, perhaps, everyone’s release?
Officials in Qatar, by the way, had announced — and I had reported — that because Egypt’s attempts had failed they were going to take over, apparently by dealing with Mashaal, the top Hamas leader, with whom they have a good relationship. But now it seems that Egypt is indeed still in the picture. According to Mubarak, Israel may release "more prisoners than expected" as part of a deal. I shudder.
Marwan Barghouti says from his prison cell that if senior prisoners (which would mean terrorists with blood on their hands) were not released, this would lead to more kidnappings.
Several comments here. First, you may ask how a prisoner has the opportunity to make a public statement this way. He spoke with MK Taleb el-Sana. You’ve got it: One of our honorable Arab Knesset members, who is happy to do the bidding of the likes of Barghouti. And, Barghouti, I remind all, IS one of the leaders whose release would be anticipated. His name is synomymous with terrorism. A murderer many times over — helped found and led the terrorist Tanzim, was involved with Al Aksa Brigades, was key to the sparking of the "Second Intifida" — he is now serving five life sentences. He should never ever be released, if for no reason other than that he gave his blessing to an attack at a Bar Mitzvah party. But there is pressure for that release all of the time because he was instrumental in drafting that infamous "Prisoners’ Document" and is seen as a future leader of the Palestinian people. The fact that such a man is sought as a "leader" speaks volumes about the Palestinian people.
But then there is the entire issue of prisoner releases. Barghouti says if we don’t release prisoners there will be more kidnappings. But quite the reverse is true. If the kidnapping turns out to be a successful ploy in securing the release of significant prisoners, then more kidnappings will follow. Here is where we need strength — for it is, I am sorry to say, the current perception that we are not strong that leads to an impasse such as this. We are expected to cave. I do not take lightly the need to save Gilad Shalit, and my heart aches for his family. But there are well established Jewish principles here: The community is not supposed to pay excessive ransom for one of its kidnapped members, for that encourages more. And in this case, when ransom is to be paid in the currency of dangerous terrorists and not money, we are also inviting the death of other innocent Israelis at the hands of the released terrorists. Forbidden.
Barghouti, by the way, told el-Sana that any prisoner release would have to be approved by the prisoners. The moxie! The unmitigated gall! And yet such is the state of affairs that he can say this and it makes news.
The worst violence between Fatah and Hamas since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority took place in the last couple of days; 11 have been killed and over 150 wounded so far. They have been on the edge of civil war for some time, and according to the Post‘s Khaled Abu Toameh, one of the more astute journalists on the scene, what’s happening now indeed may herald the beginning of that war.
The violence began when Fatah-affiliated PA police, protesting failure of the Hamas-led PA to pay their salaries, began to riot and set the Bank of Palestine branch in Gaza City on fire. Even after all of this time, this behavior — which speaks so loudly about the Palestinian propensity for violence — astonishes: men appointed to keep the quiet set fire to a bank because they aren’t been paid. They were supported by other Fatah gunmen. Hamas-affiliated PA Interior Minister Said Slam, accusing Abbas of using this to foment a revolution that would overturn the Hamas government, sent out his "back-up" force of 3,000. (Hamas some months ago established a militia parallel to the official PA security forces, which are Fatah-loyal.) The battle incorporated use of automatic rifles, pistols and hand grenades, and what began in Gaza spread to Judea-Samaria, where Hamas is not as strong.
Yesterday, at the behest of Egyptian mediators, Hamas withdrew its forces from the street and for the moment things are quieter. However, a spokesman for the PA Interior Ministry said they are determined to "crush" rebellious elements in PA security forces. Fatah elements, for their part, are talking about pursuing Hamas leaders who supported the decision to suppress protests. It certainly seems as if the tension and vitriol run so deep now that no mediator, Egyptian or otherwise, will be able to bring true calm.
Abbas has been touring Arab nations and spent the last two days in Jordan; he is due back in Ramallah today. His adviser, Nabil Amr, is hinting that Abbas might declare a state of emergency and form a new government. "This government poses a real threat to the safety of the Palestinian people," said top Abbas aide Ahmed Abdel Rahman, setting the tone for such a change of government.
What makes them think that Hamas and its 3,000 man militia would take this quietly? Indeed, a senior Hamas leader has already told Ynet, "We will remain in power…at least for the next four years until the end of our term, even if this will bring about an escalation of the conflict and even if, to our chagrin, there will be many more fatalities."
On the other side, Fatah’s Al Aksa Brigades has threated to kill all of the major leaders of Hamas, including Haniyeh and Mashaal, holding them responsible for Palestinian deaths in the last few days.
The situation grows more ominous for us in Gaza — which would make a civil war between Fatah and Hamas at this time especially fortuitious.
According to Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily, a report has been issued by the Fatah-run PA General Security Services that says that Hamas is stockpiling weapons in Gaza with the intent of waging war on Israel. This report, which echoes what Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin has already indicated, speaks of the "advanced rockets; anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles; rocket propelled grenades; raw explosives; rifles; ammunition; and other heavy weaponry" that have been smuggled in from Egypt.
This serves, in several respects, to indicate how complex the situation in the Middle East is and how great a mistake it is to oversimply matters. Here we have Egypt, which is mediating to secure the release of Shalit and attempting to keep the peace between Palestinian factions — serving as one of the "good guys," as it were — and yet is allowing in (or assisting in bringing in!) weaponry that will permit Hamas to wage war on us.
And here we have Fatah, also seeming like the "moderate" party, pointing a finger at the "bad" violent party of Hamas that is bringing in those weapons. But wait! Klein spoke with Abu Ahmed, northern Gaza leader for Al Aksa Brigades, who told him that "[Diskin] is right. We ("we," not "they") are turning Gaza into south Lebanon. We learned from Hezbollah’s victory that Israel can be defeated if we know how to hit them and if we are well prepared. We are importing rockets and the knowledge to launch them and we are also making many plans for battle." So we see that Fatah is also involve
d in this planned violence, for Al Aksa Brigades is the terrorist branch of the party. This is to be remembered as Fatah is touted as moderate (see below).
Then, lastly, we have the very significant involvement in all of this of Hezbollah, that proxy for Iran. With reference to this, Abu Ahmed said, "We have warm relations with Hezbollah, which helps with some of the training programs"
He indicated that Hezbollah maintains cells in the Sinai: "The Sinai is an excellent ground for training, the exchange of information and weapons and for meetings on how to turn every piece of land into usable territory for a confrontation with Israel." Hezbollah assistance includes development of bunkers inside of Gaza similar to those used by Hezbollah in Lebanon.
With reference to Hezbollah cells in the Sinai, we come full circle to the terrorist complicity of Egypt.
Hezbollah in Egypt preparing Al Aksa brigades to store weapons in bunkers in Gaza and then wage war on Israel.
IS ANYONE PAYING ATTENTION HERE?
Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice is in the area and scheduled to hold a summit of "moderate" leaders in Cairo today, to strengthen the coalition against the extremism of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. She will be meeting with the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as well as with representatives of Jordan and Egypt. Part of the goal here will be to strengthen Abbas, who is touted as the moderate within the Palestinian leadership lineup. She is scheduled to meet privately with Abbas, and then tomorrow evening with PM Olmert, as well as with Foreign Minister Livni nad Defense Minister Peretz.
Reportedly, Rice is going to push for Israel to allow for freer movement in and out of Gaza and Judea-Samaria, as called for in the Rafah Agreement she shoved down Israel’s throat last November, when Israel withdrew from the Gaza-Egyptian border as part of this agreement. In light of the current terrorist situation this is a most inauspicious time for making such a demand, which is just one more effort to shore up Abbas. Inauspicious? Let me say, more strongly, outrageous, if Israeli security is a concern at all. In fact, Olmert and Yuval Diskin have been saying the agreement needs to be renegotiated because of the flow of arms coming from Egypt.
Does Sec. Rice, know, one wonders, about involvement of Fatah (the "moderate" Abbas’s party) in stockpiling weapons in Gaza and the assistance they are receiving from Hezbollah? Does she know about Hezbollah cells in that "moderate" nation of Egypt? Is she aware that bunkers are being built in Gaza, in an imitation of the techniques used in Lebanon, and that the plans are for large scale war against Israel?
In case she isn’t aware of all of this, let me most vigorously suggest you take the time to let her know:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Fax: 202-261-8577 or 202-647-6434
Phone: (202) 647-5291 or (202) 736-4461 TTY:1-800-877-8339
And at the same time, I suggest you let her boss, President Bush, know as well:
President George Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
White House Comment line: 202-456-1111
TTY/TDD Comment line: 202-456-6213
As always, a written letter is best — makes the strongest impression. If you can, send it promptly snail mail, or else fax it. Phone call is second best. E-mail is least effective but far better than nothing.
Please share this information broadly. Wherever possible it should go out on lists — especially organizational lists — in the U.S. and on websites.
This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/10/3/posted-october-3-2006.html