If Hamas and Israel were to sign a long-term cease-fire, the Gaza Strip could make use of a natural gas field in the Mediterranean, a highly educated population and wonderful beaches to become a pleasant place to live.
Palestinians are seen aboard the “Lolo Rose” ship, which has become a popular restaurant, during sunset on a beach in Gaza City, Gaza, July 31, 2017.
It looks like everyone wants to do away with Gaza. In Israel, saying “Go to Gaza!” is the equivalent of “Go to hell!” The late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was known for his off-the-cuff “witticisms,” once declared that he would like to see Gaza drown in the sea. Just like that, nothing more, nothing less. I also remember a conversation that then-opposition leader Shimon Peres and I had with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Vienna in July 1978. At that meeting, Sadat told us that Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had offered to give Gaza to Egypt in exchange for the right to annex the town of Yamit in the Sinai. Sadat responded with his rolling, baritone laugh, “Begin thought I was stupid. I immediately told him, ‘You can keep that damned place for yourself.’”
It was inevitable that the violent incidents along the border between Gaza and Israel over the last two weekends did nothing to improve Gaza’s terrible image. Anyone who follows the most recent news from the Middle East might reach the mistaken conclusion that Gaza is nothing more than the source of black smoke billowing from burning tires and of wanton bloodshed. Anyone who has followed the news over the past few years will recall violent military confrontations, rocket fire and a humanitarian crisis. Even the Palestinian leadership treats Gaza as disposable, or as a liability much more than an asset. Anyone who really knows Gaza, however, would be hard-pressed to see it as such a wretched place. There are several reasons for this:
The Oslo Accord, which provides an outline for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, determined that the West Bank and Gaza would constitute a single political entity and that whatever solution is found would apply to both. Upon being elected in 2001, however, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon showed no intention of fulfilling the agreements. He did not trust any Arabs, whether they were from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) or Hamas. This he told me during a lengthy conversation in 2005, when I led Meretz.
Instead, Sharon decided to disengage from Gaza unilaterally and evacuate Israeli settlements there. No one had promised Sharon that by doing this, Israel would be released from its international obligations to deal with the issue of Gaza as part of a comprehensive agreement, which even the most right-wing governments in Jerusalem, including the current one, have never renounced.
The Palestinians and the rest of the world considered the 2005 disengagement from Gaza to be part of the implementation of the Oslo Accord’s agreement on an Israeli withdrawal in stages from the occupied territories. On the other hand, the Palestinians never considered the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state in Gaza or declaring Gaza to be sovereign Palestinian territory that would be integrated at some point in the future, with other territories that Israeli would withdraw from in the West Bank, even though Israel’s right-wing government would not prevent them from doing so.
Former US President George W. Bush, who saw himself as being committed to spreading democracy around the world, forced Sharon to allow Hamas to participate in the 2006 elections for the Palestinian Authority’s legislative assembly, in violation of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement signed in 1995. Accordingly, “The nomination of any candidates, parties, or coalitions … will be cancelled, if such candidates, parties or coalitions 1. Commit or advocate racism; or 2. Pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or non-democratic means.”
Hamas continued to support the use of violence and to call for the destruction of Israel. When Hamas surprised everyone by winning the elections, Israel and the international community had no idea how to handle this turn of events. Having failed to set preconditions for Hamas to participate in the elections, the international community instead ended up setting terms for Hamas to win recognition (renouncing terrorism, accepting international agreements signed by the PLO and recognizing Israel) after it had already won the election. Since Hamas never considered accepting those terms, the world (particularly the West) refused to recognize the movement, preferring instead to treat Mahmoud Abbas, elected Palestinian president a year earlier, as the sole legitimate Palestinian address.
From Hamas’ perspective, the emergent situation was little more than a case of hypocrisy by the international community, which refused to accept the democratic choice of the Palestinian people. In June 2007, the organization used brute force to seize control of Gaza and ousted the Palestinian Authority. Ever since then, all efforts to reconcile the Palestinian establishment in Ramallah and the Hamas leadership in Gaza have come to naught. Since Egypt rightfully regards Hamas as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood, and since Gaza is squeezed between Israel and Egypt and receives a cold shoulder from both countries, the Hamas leadership has been seeking ways to do away with the status quo and have the siege of Gaza lifted, without changing its policy toward Israel or agreements between Israel and the PLO.
The recent events along the Gaza border fence stem from the desire of Gaza’s residents to extricate themselves from the corner in which they are trapped. The problem will not be solved through violent encounters between Israeli snipers and young Palestinians willing to sacrifice their lives in vain. An iron fist might well be a temporary solution, but what is really needed is a solution for the long haul. There are two possible options.
The first option is a shift in attitude among Hamas’ leadership regarding the use of violence. Such a shift could transform Hamas into a party to discussions on reaching peace with Israel, once Israel itself is willing to negotiate peace. The second option is immediate talks about arranging a “hudna,” a total cease-fire, for a specified number of years while finding a solution to the missiles in Hamas’ hands, but without the movement being forced to recognize Israel or past agreements.
A modest step such as these could be achieved with the help of an external player — for instance, Egypt or Russia. Several attempts at a hudna have been made in the past, so there is no reason not to renew them as soon as possible.
Iraqi Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, May 17, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Alaa al-Marjani / File.
Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said on Saturday that Jews could return to Iraq if they “demonstrated loyalty,” the Hebrew news site Walla reported.
The 44-year-old Sadr heads the Saairun coalition, which won the most seats in the Iraqi parliamentary election last month.
His comment on Jews came in response to a question asked by a supporter, the Walla report said.
In the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Sadr’s Mahdi Army targeted American troops.
Iran’s base in southern Syria, as photographed by satellite imagery, in October 2017. (Screenshot)
An Arabic news source reported on the ongoing negotiations between Israel and Russia concerning the Iranian military presence in Syria, stating that Russia has agreed to “a green light” for Israeli military strikes against Iranian military target.
Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman is currently in negotiations with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow concerning the Iranian military presence in Southern Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin are also in telephone contact over the matter.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
“Paranoia predisposed him to believe in nefarious, hidden forces driving events,” the New York Times writes of Trump. “Political opportunism informed his promotion of conspiracy theories.”
But that could just as easily apply to the New York Times.
The Jewish community is in danger and so is the Free World as we know it. THE CONFLICT BEYOND ADVOCACY
The Jewish community is in danger and so is the Free World as we know it.
Reprinted from IsraelNationalNews.com.
Who would have believed that within certain communities, there could be more supporters of the radical Arab Palestinian agenda than supporters of the free, democratic and altruistic State of Israel. The relentless Arab Palestinian deceitful and well-organized propaganda, with the irrational support of many in the Western Media, may be a part of this transition.
The Democratic Party in the USA used to be a staunch supporter of the just cause of the State of Israel, but a recent Pew Research Center report showed a dangerous shift in this attitude. Within the more radical liberal branch of the Democratic party, about 38% will be anti-Israeli while the supporters of Israel will be only about 26%. When you look at the overall numbers as they relate to the Democratic party, you find that about 31% will be anti-Israeli and only 33% will be pro-Israel. On the other hand, within the Republican party, about 74% will be pro-Israel.
Yahya Sinwar, the leader of the Islamist Hamas movement in Gaza, speaks during a protest east of Khan Yunis, April 16, 2018.
Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, recently gave interviews to Al Jazeera and Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV, which is close to Hezbollah, to boast about his movement’s achievements in the wake of the recent border fence demonstrations and the Great Return March. In the interviews, on May 16 and 21, respectively, Sinwar also threatened that if Hamas is forced into another round of fighting with Israel, its Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades will have a few surprises in store for the “Zionist enemy
“The Israeli nation had been constructed as a sort of gateway by which the sparks of purity would shine upon the whole of the human race the world over.” The Arvut, Baal HaSulam
The Trump-Kim summit generated a renewed sense of hope along with questions about the future. Will we witness a new and peaceful North Korea? Will Trump’s deal-making skills become instrumental in promoting world peace? And specifically among Israel analysts: Will Trump be able to make a deal to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
On May 22, Susanna Maria Feldman went missing. It was the day after the Jewish holiday of Shavuot which celebrates G-d’s revelation of the Ten Commandments to Moses and a nation of freed slaves.
The fifth commandment is, “Honor thy father and mother.” The sixth is, “Thou shalt not murder.”
And in the German city of Mainz, whose Jewish community dates back to Roman times, a worried mother waited for the worst. Susanna had gone off with her friends. They came home. And she didn’t.
What can one learn from the controversy? Basically, that it is safer to be a member of Hamas than to be gay. Palestinian leaders would much rather see young Palestinians trying to kill Israelis than talk about gays in their own society. In the world of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, there is no room for comedy or satire.
On June 8, an estimated 250,000 people attended the Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv. Tourists from all around the world came to Israel to watch and participate in the event. The theme of this year’s event is “The Community Makes History” — a reference to the LGBT community in Israel.
Fifty one years have passed since the Six Day War, fifty one years during which Israel has advanced on every front, in economics, technology, its society (it switched from a socialist to a nationalist regime) and, most significantly, in its geo-political situation: Two Arab countries bordering Israel, Jordan and Egypt, signed peace treaties with the Jewish State, and a number of Arab states have relations with Israel behind the scenes. Israel is an honored member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its per capita GNP approaches $40,000 per annum.
The anti-Israel boycott is despicable. In the past, the Jews were boycotted by the unenlightened. Today, the unenlightened are not alone. They’re in a coalition with the pseudo-enlightened.
Jibril Rajoub, the man who announced that if he had an atom bomb he would drop it on Israel, won a huge victory, because the game against Argentina was supposed to be the jewel in the crown. It was supposed to join the Eurovision win in proving that Israel doesn’t have to give a damn about the rest of the world. But no, it does.
We must admit that Rajoub is not the only one who defeated Israel. Israel defeated itself. Because when you do things to spite other, you end up paying the price. And we’re paying it.