Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sins and Sticks

Montana’s last year in elementary school began with a classmate (who hailed all the way back from junior kindergarten) shouting out a few choice racial epithets directed towards Montana and a few other male classmates during a heated moment in a game on the playground. The language imaginary invoked by the child centered on Slaves, Jews, Spics and Gooks.

According to the kid’s rule of the playground a turn deserves a turn, and so the child’s own ethnicity came under the attack respectively by the “slave”, the “spic”, and the “gook” as a member of the “dog-eaters”. The boy stormed off the playground in a huff. The boys continued on with their game never thinking anything more of it. But this child was well schooled by the cult of political correctness and stormed off to the office to take advantage of the ignorance and earnestness of a new principal to cry about the injustice of the “racism” directed towards himself by the “other”.

I would never have learned about it except for my son’s conduct when confronted indirectly by the principal. Certainly, the old principal, an old hand, well-schooled would never have put himself so foolishly in the position that the new principal did. The new principal saw it as his moment to shine and strike a blow for racial equality harmony, and justice for all - in one go. Admirable and well-intentioned, but a trifle misguided.

The entire grade eight-class was subjected to a two hour lecture on the evil of racism. Now Montana can be a rather patient soul, and had the principal just stuck to an hour lecture, all would have been well, but by the end of the second hour with no sign of the man easing-up, Montana reached the end of his tether. He raised his hand and when the principal acknowledged him and gave his permission to speak. Montana stood up and said, “Sir, do you really think it’s appropriate for you as a white man to lecture me as a black male on the evil of racism? Take a look around Sir; you’re the only white person in the room.” And with that he sat down as mayhem and havoc broke out into the classroom.

Montana was sent forthwith to the office. Let us just say the little one-one dialogue face-to-face time in the office between my son and the principal didn’t get go down any easier than the confrontation in the classroom. It probably didn’t help that my son literally towered over the man and the “I am going to have to call your mother card” was played. Montana just smirked and told him it was his call to make.

Let us just say the conversation with the mother of the Last Amazon didn’t go easier on the principal’s psyche or liberal sensitivities and I almost felt sorry for him – almost. I did what I could to patch up the ill-will between the principal and Montana, but when a person’s pride and sensibilities has been injured by their own foolishness; it’s a task really beyond my talents to fully mend. It probably didn’t help that I was powerless to contain my laughter when he first told me what Montana had said.

The rest of the year didn’t get any easier for Montana and the principal. Montana had made an enemy and he learned with it was like to live under the authority of a man who held a grudge and was actively gunning for you. In the end, despite being valedictorian of his class, and winning numerous awards in core academic subjects; he lost out on the scholarship to a private prep school which required the principal’s personal endorsement. No matter, my son will succeed wherever he goes, and he learned a valuable lesson on the innate dangers involved when skinning a progressive of their well-horned sensitivities who possesses any measure of authority over your life.

Why this turn down memory lane? Well, the lynch mob of well-meaning progressives response to this blog posting, puts this memory front and centre in my mind. While the language and imaginary invoked in the original blog post are confrontational and crude, and the judgments contained harsh and hurtful - perhaps, just perhaps, the well-intentional rabble should take a moment to pause and ask themselves; where did the blogger come from? What motivates her to speak thus? Whose shoes does she wear? Does this come from a position of experience and pain? And then, perhaps they should ask themselves - just why it was her family chose to take the road leading out of the Rez before they put the rope around her neck and string up a granddaughter of the tribe.

Friday, June 29, 2007

where's the outrage?

The Lebanese Army opened fire on a group of Palestinians refugees and a search of Canada’s two largest daily (The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star) shows absolutely nada. Ha’aretz reports:
Lebanese troops fired at Palestinian civilians demanding to return to their homes at a besieged refugee camp on Friday, killing three protesters and wounding 50, witnesses and hospital sources said.

They said the soldiers opened fire first into the air as hundreds of refugees, including women and children, tried to storm through an army checkpoint and head to Nahr al-Bared camp, scene of nearly six weeks of intense fighting between the army and the al Qaida-inspired Fatah al-Islam militants.

When the crowd did not disperse and attacked soldiers with stones and sticks, the troops fired automatic rifles at the protest inflicting the casualties. The witnesses said the refugees from Nahr al-Bared had started to march from the nearby Beddawi camp, where they had sought refuge after the battles began on May 20.The displaced refugees were impatient at the time they had had to spend at the overcrowded Beddawi in difficult circumstances, and said they were determined to return home despite ongoing fighting.
Imagine the international hoopla if an IDF soldier opened fire indiscriminately on a group of Palestinian refugees….the Security Council would be meeting to discuss this and a motion condemning the Israeli response would be issued before midnight. Heads would roll in the IDF hierarchy and Peace Now would be picketing everywhere and anywhere in Israel. The Israeli flag would be burnt all over the Islamic world from Islamabad to Cairo. Israeli Embassys around the would be ringed with protestors. But let the Lebanon Army do it and most of the MSM just go mum.

Mickey Mouse Jihad ends with no cliffhanger

Hamas TV broadcasted the last episode of "Farfour" the Mickey Mouse look-a-like reports the Jerusalem Post:
Hamas TV on Friday broadcast what it said was the last episode of a weekly children's show featuring "Farfour," a Mickey Mouse look-alike who had made worldwide headlines for preaching Islamic domination and armed struggle to youngsters. In the final skit, Farfour was beaten to death by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour's land. At one point, Farfour called the Israeli a "terrorist." "Farfour was martyred while defending his land," said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed "by the killers of children," she added.
I shutter to think Hamas could do with Bambi!

Forget Fatah (with or without the Islam) there's new millies on the block

As there is another radical group of Islamists whose ascension is on the rise and their base of operations is located in the heart of the West and fights in the East reports the Jerusalem Post:
While Israelis are preoccupied with threats from Hamas, Iran, Hizbullah, Syria and even al-Qaida, they pay almost no attention to a large, widespread Islamist movement whose goal is to establish a caliphate on the lands "occupied by Zionists."
Hizb ut-Tahrir, or the Party of Liberation, is totally unknown to most Israelis.

This Sunni pan-Islamic Party, which has more than a million members in at least 40 countries, is becoming increasingly popular in the Arab world. The party, founded in Jerusalem 54 years ago, is now returning to its birthplace, presenting a revived caliphate as a viable solution to the problems of the Muslim world.

Hizb ut-Tahrir members are reserved about activities within their country of residence, occasionally condemning their own foreign offshoots. Thus, Britain has turned into a perfect base for Hizb ut-Tahrir operations abroad, whose goal is radicalization of Muslims all over the world, especially in the Palestinian Authority and in Central Asia.

Although Hizb ut-Tahrir does not admit to employing violent means of "persuasion" such as those used by Hamas and Osama Bin Laden, it does use terrorism as a tool, assisting other "holy warriors." The British suicide bombers who killed three people and wounded more than 15 at Mike's Place in Tel Aviv in April 2003 were recruited by Hizb ut-Tahrir for Hamas, according to The New York Sun.

Despite being banned in Russia, Hizb ut-Tahrir is rapidly growing in the country's eastern areas. More than least 50 cells that were distributing radical literature, converting locals and preaching for jihad, were arrested by the Russian secret services in the past two years, the head of the Russia's Internal Affairs Department said last week. Hizb ut-Tahrir also planned to assassinate St. Petersburg's governor early last month.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has recently started boosting its activities in Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and the PA. The organization's global leader, Sheikh Abu Yasin Ata ibn Khalil Abu Rashta, a Jordanian Palestinian, secretly resides in Lebanon, according to the Jamestown Foundation in Washington.

The party is becoming increasingly visible within the PA, mostly in Judea and Samaria. According to Israeli security services, there are close to 1,000 Hizb ut-Tahrir activists living in east Jerusalem. A few years ago, the security services raided Hizb ut-Tahrir's office in Ramallah and seized vast stores of radical literature in Arabic, Uzbek and other languages.

Hizb ut-Tahrir's activists organize demonstrations and meetings, competing with Hamas. The party called to boycott PA elections in which Hamas took part, distributing more than 10,000 leaflets at Al-Aksa alone. Today, as Hamas fights Fatah, Hizb ut-Tahrir's standing in the West Bank is on the rise.

Unlike many Islamist movements, whose funding from abroad can be cut off at any time, Hizb ut-Tahrir's support comes from Western countries, where their activities are monitored, but not banned. The Party of Liberation is waiting for the right opportunity to come out from the shadows and replace the current dominant Palestinian factions.

I found this British Independent article circa 2005 which goes into more background on the group and its activities in Britain.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Road Map U-turns

Ha’aretz is plugging this poll:
A poll released Thursday showed only 31 percent of Palestinians believe it possible to reach a peace deal with the current Israeli leadership, while 42 percent of Israelis believe it is possible to reach such a settlement with moderate Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Only a quarter of Israelis surveyed believed the conflict could be resolved by talks with a Palestinian national unity government, which would include members of the Islamic Hamas movement.
But let’s look at it another way. 58 % of Israelis do not believe (for whatever reasons) that peace with the Palestinians is possible now and 69% of Palestinians agree.

EU border monitoring teams bunkers down in Israel

Geeze, what a surprise! EU monitors will stay away from the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt as long as Hamas mans the Gaza border reports the Jerusalem Post:
European monitors will not return to the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Sinai while Hamas is in control there, but only if Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Force 17 "Presidential Guard" regains authority over the crossing, the deputy head of the monitoring force said on Wednesday.

Patrick Delval, the deputy head of EU BAM-Rafah, said at a press briefing that the border crossing had been closed since June 9, four days before the Hamas-Fatah fighting intensified. He said the crossing, with an estimated €5 million worth of equipment, was now in Hamas's hands, but that he had not heard any reports of damage there.

The EU's ambassador to Israel, Ramiro Cibrian, said that the legal basis for the deployment of the EU force to Rafah was the agreement on movement and access from November 2005, which clearly stipulated that the Presidential Guard would control the crossing. Now that Force 17 is no longer there, the terms of the agreement are not being met, making it impossible for the EU force to take up their positions. The 70-man force is in Ashkelon, waiting for further orders.

Odd how the EU team didn’t decided to hunker down in Ramallah rather than Israel. I would have thought the EU team would have more in common with Fatah since both organizations seem quite adapt at running away when things go off the wire.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Abbas still singing that same tune

Ha’aretz is reporting that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is getting tough and has issued a ban prohibiting Palestinians from carrying weapons and explosives reports:
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas issued a ban on Tuesday prohibiting Palestinians from carrying weapons and explosives without a license, as part of a crackdown aimed at weakening Hamas militants in the West Bank.

The order was the latest of a series of decrees issued by Abbas since he dissolved a coalition government following Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza, and named a Western-backed emergency coalition, excluding Hamas representation, in the West Bank.

The problem with blogging as long as I have is that I have heard Abu Mazen sing that song before in 2005. Since it wasn’t enforcable in any appreciable way the first time – what is the point of re-issuing the same decree? The only answer I can come up with is that it plays well in the international media.

No doubt PETA would be proud

Reading the Israeli papers I have often read comments alleging Arab MK’s are a fifth column in the heart of the Jewish state but until I read this Ynet News article I didn’t realize just how flaky and frivolous some Arab MK’s can be:
MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) proposed Tuesday that the Knesset ban MKs from wearing leather garments within its walls. Tibi proposed the act as part of the new code of ethics the Knesset wishes to issue its members. "This is a moral act that carries with it an important public message," said Tibi at the meeting held by the code of ethics committee, which discussed the proper dress code for MKs.

"If my motion is carried, MKs would not be able to come to the Knesset wearing leather coats or shoes, or sporting clothes with fur. "This is common in many workplaces around the world," said Tibi. "I was the one that introduced the motion demanding increased penalties for those abusing animals… this continues that motion. "If this motion fails, I think the MKs themselves should pledge to refrain from coming to the Knesset wearing leather clothing," he said. The committee also discussed whether or not MKs should be allowed to enter the Knesset wearing sandals.

Sporting clothes with fur – who knew? My estimation for the Israeli people just went up another notch. I am not a big sandal wearer myself as I am quite tired of listening to strangers make disparaging remarks about my toes, but if leather sandals were good enough for Ben Gurion - I say go for it - just don’t wear them with socks…

of hope and the next generation

A close family member is a schizophrenic. It’s been a very hard road for her. The drugs necessary to give her a rather tentative grasp on reality come with truly horrendous side effects. Her general health suffers from the alleged semi-cure. The situation has become dire in recent months as the drugs are not as effective as they once were.

Yesterday, I learned of a new drug trial which may offer a beacon of hope for my cousin and our family. A relative young Israeli drug company will be completing the second stage trial by the end of June and from what I was able to read it looks very hopeful.

I was discussing the information with my daughter the Last Amazon who made a rather startling request for a 15 (and soon to be 16) year old. Now that she is a working member of society she wants to set up a stock portfolio. She’s been working since May part-time and has been saving at least half (if not more) of her paycheque every week. She wants to take half of her savings and invest it in the stock market. She is more interested investing in companies who are in the start up stages of new drugs and technology with an eye to long-term investing. If that wasn’t unusual enough - she presented me with a written mission statement of her investment goals.

She has never taken a business course or attended a financial planning seminar. Most of her secondary school courses are heavy on the math and sciences side. Nor am I an investor unless you count the time and attention I have spent investing in my children. I somehow don’t really think that qualifies me as any kind of financial maverick. I am not sure where she gets these ideas from and there are times when I feel truly out of step with most of my parental peers.

I remember being a teenager and my mother cursing me by saying she hoped I would one day I would have a daughter just like me so I could finally learn what it feels like. Even then, I recognized I was a horrible daughter and decided I would never have children so I wouldn’t be in danger of getting my own back. Instead, I got the Last Amazon and her brothers who I stand in awe of. My mother and I joke that the Last Amazon is who we would to be when we grow-up.

I have done nothing, absolutely nothing to merit the wonderful children I have been blessed with and I am at a real loss to understand it. In fact, the situation frightens me as it’s been through my children that I have discovered the true extent of my inadequacies not only as a human being but as a parental steward. All of which leads me to believe G-d has an incredible sense of humor but I am far too afraid to laugh.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

UNIFIL commander - all quiet on the northern front

The Jerusalem Post is carrying an in-depth piece with the Italian commander of UNIFIL forces in Lebanon. Here’s a money quote:
Graziano, however, dismisses these claims and says that the guerrilla group is practically nonexistent south of the Litani. "In my area of operations there is no open hostile activity, and we also do not see a rearmament happening," he said. "We are physically patrolling every corner of southern Lebanon, and if there were a bunker [system], we would have found it." If Israel were to transfer intelligence on Hizbullah positions to UNIFIL, he would immediately send forces to inspect, he added. "If we receive indication, we work to prevent hostile activities, but there is no evidence of any rearmament happening in southern Lebanon," he says. "There is no one going around southern Lebanon with weapons - and if we did see someone, even a hunter, then they would be arrested."

Maybe it would be a more prudent use of UNIFIL’s time and resources if UNIFIL concentrated on bomb makers rather than hunters. Taken from the Jerusalem Post:
At least five Spanish UN peacekeepers were killed and three others wounded in an attack on a UNIFIL patrol in southern Lebanon on Sunday afternoon. The incident took place near Al-Hijam, south of Marj Ayoun, on the eastern part of the border with Israel. UNIFIL forces were on route to the site of the attack to investigate.

A senior Lebanese official in Beirut said a mine may have caused the explosion. But another security official based in southern Lebanon said the explosion was caused by a bomb that was placed on the side of the main road where the UNIFIL APC was traveling. The attack late Sunday afternoon was the first ever against UNIFIL forces in the region. Shortly afterward, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos to express Israel's condolences over the attack. No organization claimed responsibility for the attack, but forces affiliated with al-Qaida were cited as the possible initiators of the attack, an analyst speaking on Israel Radio said moments after the explosion.

The village of al-Hajam was allegedly used as a Hezbollah headquarters during last summer’s war with Lebanon.

Jihad goes Global in Lebanon

So reports The Age:

An Australian man is believed to be among seven Islamist militants killed in a raid on their hideout in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, and three other Australians have been arrested in Lebanon over suspected links to hardline groups.

Lebanese officials say the man died as a 10-hour siege at an apartment block reached a bloody climax when Lebanese troops stormed the building on Sunday, Fairfax newspapers report.One soldier was killed and 14 injured, and militants also killed a policeman and his two daughters and a relative.The standoff was linked to 36-day-old battles between the army and Fatah al-Islam militants at a Palestinian refugee camp.

The violence in Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city, began when militants believed linked to Fatah al-Islam fired at soldiers trying to raid their apartment in Abu Samra district, starting a firefight with assault rifles and grenade launchers.
Meanwhile, officials at the Australian embassy in Beirut were seeking access to the three detained Australian men to offer them consular assistance and were also helping their families, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said in Canberra."Three Australian men have been arrested in Tripoli over the last few days, however the reasons and the circumstances are unclear," he said. One of the three is believed to be a Sydney man, Ibrahim Sabouh, 33, who has been living in Lebanon for more than a year with his wife and family.

Crib notes are so old school

Those moderate Fatah Palestinians go shopping. Taken from Jerusalem Post:

Fatah gunmen in Nablus on Saturday stole the forms of the high school matriculation finals known as Tawjihi, forcing the Palestinian Authority to suspend the exams. Eyewitnesses said a group of masked gunmen belonging to Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, stopped a car that was transferring the exam forms to schools in Nablus and stole them after threatening to shoot the driver.

They said the gunmen were hoping to give the forms to their friends and relatives. This was the first time since the establishment of the PA that the Tawjihi examination forms were stolen.
Bet it won't be the last time either.

Terror Group Merger

Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade not only gets a free pass in the West Bank but are to be officially incorporated into the Palestinian Authority security services reports the Jerusalem Post:
"All the members of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades will become official members of the security forces," the sources said. "We want them to become a legitimate force operating within the frame of the Palestinian security forces." According to the sources, the Fatah militiamen will be placed under the direct jurisdiction of Abbas. "The group will be allowed to retain its name and status," the explained. "The group won't be dismantled."
The Bethlehem-based Maan news agency quoted Abu Fuad, a spokesman for the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank, as saying that Abbas had agreed to merge the group into the Palestinian security forces. "There is no decision to dismantle the Aksa Martyrs Brigades," he stressed. "The president only wants to turn us into a legitimate force. This is the agreement we reached with the president."
Gee - somebody tell me why I am not surprised.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Just Another Reason to Fly WestJet

Air Canada puts pets on no-fly list. I knew my cat Rogue was a superb mouser, but I had no idea he had embraced Jihad...

Muckraking and Mud slinging by Thugs

I have to admit that knowing that a man’s life is hanging in the balance stifles my otherwise enjoyment of these ‘he said, she said’ reports. Taken from the Jerusalem Post:
Mumtaz Dughmush, the head of the Gaza clan that has been holding BBC correspondent Alan Johnston for the past 100 days, is refusing to release the journalist for fear that Hamas will kill him and most of his clan members. Dughmush, who is known as Abu Muhammad, is negotiating Johnston's release with Hamas leaders in return for assurances that he and his relatives will not be killed, sources close to Hamas told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

Since last Saturday, the sources said, dozens of Hamas militiamen have been surrounding the area where the Dughmush clan lives in Gaza City's Sabra neighborhood. Hamas has warned that it will use force unless Johnston is freed by Monday. "This man is a big thug," a source said. "He is claiming to head a group calling itself the Army of Islam. In fact, this is just a group of murderers and thugs who want money and jobs."
On Wednesday, a member of the clan, Munir Dughmush, was shot by unknown gunmen in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood. His killing raised fears that the clan might try to kidnap another foreigner.

A Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said Mumtaz Dughmush was very close to Fatah operative Muhammad Dahlan. "In the past he was close to Hamas, but he later started working with Dahlan," the official said. "This man will do anything for money. He was asking for $2 million in exchange for the British journalist. But now he knows he's not going to get anything out of Hamas." The Hamas official said Mumtaz and his brother, Mu'taz, were wanted by Hamas for their involvement in the killing of a number of Hamas men in the Gaza Strip over the past year. "We have told them that we will negotiate with them about their safety only after they release the journalist," he said. "Hamas is determined to end this case as soon as possible because we won't allow clans to control the streets." The official expressed fear that the Dughmush clan might kill Johnston at the request of Dahlan and other top Fatah leaders to prevent Hamas from taking credit for his release.

But Mumtaz Dughmush on Thursday strongly denied any link to Dahlan, saying he was actually very close to the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip. He also claimed that he and Hamas had planned to assassinate Dahlan at least five times in the past.

On the streets

There was a rally held in support of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas held in the Fatah stronghold of Ramallah and only about 150 people showed up reports the Jerusalem Post.
About 150 Fatah supporters marched in the center of this city on Thursday to express support for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in his confrontation with Hamas. Carrying pictures of Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, the demonstrators shouted slogans against Hamas and its leaders, specifically Damascus-based Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh, one of two competing PA prime ministers.

"Mashaal, Haniyeh, go away from the Gaza Strip," they chanted. "The Hamas leaders are clowns. Islam is not about slaughtering people. Await the response from [Fatah's] Aksa Martyrs Brigades." The demonstration came a day after Abbas said Hamas had tried to assassinate him by detonating explosives under his car. It also came as Abbas's security forces and Fatah gunmen continued their crackdown on Hamas representatives and institutions in the West Bank.
But Thursday's midday march at Manarah Square in downtown Ramallah failed to attract large numbers of Palestinians. "What are they celebrating, their defeat in the Gaza Strip?" asked Hisham Atiyeh, a 29-year-old shopkeeper. "The people here don't like Fatah because they are corrupt and because they have many thugs on the street." Atiyeh said he was "100 percent sure that if elections were held tomorrow morning in the West Bank, Hamas would win. I'm not a religious person, but I will certainly vote for Hamas, because I don't like what these Fatah guys are doing."

Asked if the resumed US and EU financial aid could boost Fatah's standing among West Bankers, he said: "Fatah does not need money and weapons. It needs reforms and change. Fatah must do something good to convince the Palestinians that they are not corrupt and bad. Otherwise, the people will never support them."

In the 2006 elections, Hamas won 74 seats and only 24 of those seats came from the Gaza Strip electoral districts. The bulk of Hamas’ support came from the West Bank and I suspect if elections were held tomorrow, Palestinians would continue to support Hamas even in the Fatah stronghold of the West Bank.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Abbas appoints Hamas member to PA government

The New Fatah government of the Palestinian Authority is not quite as Hamas free as billed. Arutz Sheva reports:
( As Prime Minister Ehud Olmert continues to pledge his support for the newly formed PA shadow-government set up by Fatah, Hamas is looking forward to inheriting the aid.

Fatah, which was trounced by Hamas in PA elections, has taken advantage of its being violently expelled from Gaza to claim that it has established a Hamas-free government in Judea and Samaria, which both the Israel government and the international community has quickly embraced and begun to fund.

A prominent Hamas man from the Gaza, however, was appointed Tuesday as Social Welfare and Agriculture Minister in Fatah’s unilaterally declared government Tuesday. Sheikh Mahmoud Habbash said he agreed to be a part of Fatah’s new PA government because it is his "national duty at this very sensitive and difficult stage."
I think I finally understand the underlying rationale for Hamas and Fatah security forces to be wearing identical ski-masks.

I remember Rae Days

I literally live dead centre in what is not affectionately called the Centre of the Universe by the rest of the country. Personally, I refer to it as the last level of Dante’s Inferno and if you don’t know what sin got residency rights in Dante’s last level of hell - you need to broaden your education so get busy reading The Divine Comedy.

Well, my MP finally stepped down, and I would like to send a big shout out to the little metrosexual putz from the bottom of my heart – DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT! I’d be relieved but apparently the Big Di-Yawn has earned marked another little metrosexual putz which makes a kind of weird sense - given that the riding is the bull’s eye of the last level of Dante’s hell.

I’ve lived here since 1995 and I have never, ever, had a liberal canvasser either knock at my door or leave behind any liberal campaign material. And it’s not because I have hostile liberal signage in the windows or on the outside doors. The only thing close to a hostile signage on the outside door was a Star of David with Kill the Jew written on it in black marker though the landlord got rid of that one pretty quickly. Too bad the inside ones took longer. I think it was because it was easy to read from the street and so the landlord was probably afraid the graffiti would as a magnet or target for firebombing the building.

Anyway, new day and all of that, so I just might be in danger of having a liberal lurking at my doorstep once the by-election gets called. I am contemplating putting an appropriate sign in the window. Something like “I remember Rae Days; high unemployment, deep recession, mega layoffs” etc., but I am not really creative in that way so I am soliciting suggests and/or potential sign graphics from my fellow Canadians to help keep my home safe and free of liberals.

Canada makes the right call

Don’t ask me how or why, but every once and awhile Canada gets one right, and I mean really right. Ha’aretz:
The United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday voted in favor of making Israel's actions a permanent item on the council's agenda. Of the council's 47 member states, the sole opponent of the decision to make Israel a permanent agenda item was Canada
Now if only Canadians could be weaned from the idea of that membership in the UN is our second highest value (next to socialized healthcare), and if, Quebeccers could be induced from their long nursed prejudice - we could all feel a lot better about living here.

h/t Chris Taylor

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lieberman, the most entertaining Israeli politician

I haven’t done a fun with Lieberman post in a while. The problem with Lieberman as a parliamentarian is; if you interrupt him he’ll probably tell you exactly what he thinks of you and his hopes for your future. The Jerusalem Post reports:
A fight broke out in the Knesset plenum on Monday between Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Balad chairman Wasal Taha, in which Lieberman called Taha a "representative of terrorists" in the Knesset and wished Hamas would "take care of" him, too.

The fight began when Taha interrupted Lieberman's speech during a meeting on approving incoming Labor Chairman Ehud Barak as the new defense minister. In the speech, Lieberman attacked Arab Knesset members for their silence on what he termed the "lynching in Gaza," referring to the Hamas attacks on Fatah members in the escalating violence between the rival Palestinian factions. Taha shouted back his opposition, after which Lieberman accused Taha of treason.

Lieberman accused Taha of being an accomplice to terror organizations and said, "Your day will also come." The shouting match culminated in Lieberman saying, "I hope Hamas takes care of you, too! They would deal with you properly."

Monday, June 18, 2007

maybe the Lebanese Army needs pointers from Hamas

It has been five weeks, and as hard as it is to believe, the Lebanese Army has still not managed to route out Fatah Islam from a refugee camp with fixed stable boundaries. Taken from the Globe and Mail report.
BEIRUT — Fierce fighting erupted in and around a besieged Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon on Monday as Lebanese troops resumed bombardment of al-Qaeda-inspired militants barricaded inside.

Troops, backed by heavy artillery and tank fire, blasted suspected hideouts of the Fatah Islam militants inside the Nahr el-Bared camp on the outskirts of the northern port city of Tripoli, as the battle against the militants entered its fifth week, witnesses said.

The intense bombardment sent thick black and white smoke billowing into the air and started fires in several shell-punctured buildings in the camp.In Sunday's clashes, troops entirely destroyed the militants' main headquarters located on the edge of the camp, according to the state-run National News Agency. But the whereabouts of Fatah Islam leader Shaker Youssef al-Absi and his top aides remain unknown.

After inspecting troops deployed around the Nahr el-Bared camp, Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman said Sunday that the decision to eliminate the Fatah Islam militants was “final and irreversible.”“There is no other way out for these terrorists except to lay down their arms and surrender to justice before it is too late,” Gen. Suleiman said in a statement carried by the NNA.

I am not sure why Gen. Suleiman is so cocky considering Lebanese soldiers continue to fall at a great rate than Fatah Islam militants.

A good days for criminal thugs

Ah yes, those Fatah moderates in action.Ynet News reports:
The tensions in Gaza were felt all the way in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya where merchants in the local marketplace decided not only to mark down prices but also shave off their beards. "Nowadays a beard is no longer a religious decree, it's a clear and present danger," one of the merchants told Ynet. "Fatah harasses anyone with a beard and beats them, so may Allah forgive us if we remove ours to stay safe. As it is the beard is optional and not mandatory," he said.

In Ramallah last weekend three French citizens were badly beaten by Fatah men who suspected them of being affiliated with Hamas due to their facial hair. Hamas meanwhile has accused Fatah of persecuting the religion of Islam and subsequently anyone who looks religious due to his appearance. (…)Midday official Palestinian security troops arrived, wearing facemasks.
I am not sure how one actually distinguishes armed thugs of the Palestinian security forces from armed thugs of Hamas but ain’t Palestinian secularism a grand thing to behold? And in the grand tradition of Fatah Palestinian equality, liberty and religious freedom; the PA Chairman has outlawed armed groups from the West Bank, well, only armed Hamas members and Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade will continue to enjoy a free pass. Taken from Ha’aretz:
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday outlawed the armed groups of the Islamic Hamas organization, his office said. The move comes in the wake of Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip last week. On Thursday, Abbas dissolved the Hamas-Fatah unity government, and on Sunday swore in a new cabinet of technocrats. A senior aide to Abbas initially said Sunday that the Hamas movement itself was banned. But his office later said that the ban applied only to the armed groups of Hamas, including the Executive Force and the military wing, Izz A Din al-Qassam.

One of the better editorial pieces I have read in the last few days is this one from the Jerusalem Post which ends with this dire warning resulting in the consequences of failing to take heed of the lessons learned and drawing the appropriate conclusions.
Yet there is a chance that, given the opportunity, they are ready for peace. However slim that chance may be, we do know this: If the West continues to offer Palestinians nothing more than a choice between Hamas and a corrupt Hamas-lite, they are likely to continue to choose Hamas.

And Canada's position - our political overlords have decided to support a corrupt Hamas-lite organization. Yippe!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Italian terror diplomacy

This Ha’aretz article offers an plausible explanation for UNIFIL’s Italian’s commanders astonishing hear, see, speak no evil statements to the Israeli press conference a few days ago:
Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema offered Syrian officials a deal on his visit to Damascus earlier this month, according to Israeli sources. D'Alema told Syrian president, Basher al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Moallem that Italy would push for an end to Syria's international isolation in return for a guarantee that Hezbollah and other groups would not harm Italian troops in Lebanon.

Italy has headed the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon since February, and has some 11,000 soldiers stationed in the south, covering the Litani River region. A senior Israeli official said the information showed Italy was more concerned with the safety of its own troops than with the mission assigned to it by the UN, and was even prepared to make deals with Syria to that end.

According to the official, information on the deal offered to Syria undermine the suggestion Italy has made several times over the past two months of sending multinational peacekeeping forces to Gaza.
I have been wracking my head trying to come with an Italian of general of note in the last 100 years and I am drawing a complete blank. Who knows, if Italian troops were sent as part of an international deployment to the Gaza-Egypt border Hamas just might end up with the Vatican.

So just who are the Palestinian Patriots?

Apparently, Hamas hasn’t just been busy issuing threats to Fatah according to this Jerusalem Post report:
Hamas on Saturday issued a warning to all powerful clans in the Gaza Strip to hand over their weapons or else they would be disarmed by force. Hamas also issued an ultimatum to Mumtaz Dughmush, the head of the notorious Dughmush clan, to release kidnapped BBC correspondent Alan Johnston within the next 24 hours.
On Saturday, hundreds of Hamas militiamen attacked members of the pro-Fatah Astal clan in Khan Yunis. The clan had rejected an ultimatum by Hamas to surrender its weapons. At least two people were killed in the fighting. Four other clans in the southern Gaza Strip, Abu Taha, Masri, Abu Amra and Barbakh, were told that they must hand over all their weapons by Sunday morning. The clans have long been known for their involvement in the smuggling of weapons and drugs from Egypt.

Sources in the Gaza Strip said Hamas militiamen began rounding up scores of men suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and other criminal activities over the weekend. Most of the suspects were caught as they tried to flee to Israel through the Erez checkpoint and Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, the sources told The Jerusalem Post.

Deposed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh appointed a council of security officers to impose law and order in the Gaza Strip. The council is headed by Tawfik Jaber, a former Palestinian Authority security officer, who will report directly to Haniyeh. Hamas also decided to ban Palestinian gunmen from covering their faces with masks as part of its plan to restore law and order and prevent gangsters from roaming the streets.

Bayan Abu Nar, a top commander of Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, announced that his movement was determined to confiscate the weapons of all the large clans in the Gaza Strip. "Hamas will impose law and order in the Gaza Strip," he said. "Our people have long been suffering as a result of the crimes that were committed by the murderous Fatah gangs. These gangs are now gone for ever and they will never terrorize our people again."
If Hamas manages to pull this off they will have accomplished more to improve the everyday quality of life for the average Palestinian than Fatah has ever done in its long sordid history and it kind of makes you wonder who the real patriots are.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Speech Bush will never give

Here’s the speech I would like to hear US President George Bush give courtesy of Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post:
Five years ago, I set out my vision for peace between the Arab world, and particularly the Palestinian people and Israel. I still believe in my vision of a new democratic, antiterrorist state of Palestine committed to the rule of law and human rights and living side by side in peace with the existing democratic, antiterrorist, human-rights respecting, law-abiding State of Israel.

Tragically, developments over the past five years demonstrate that today, it is impossible to realize this vision and, therefore, the time has come to set it aside.
Although the Palestinians have received more foreign aid per capital than the nations of Europe under the Marshall Plan, rather than use the international community's support to embrace liberty and build a working democracy, the Palestinians have built legions of terror.

With US support, the Palestinians held free elections in January 2006. Rather than choose leaders not compromised by terror, the Palestinians preferred to choose the Hamas and other terrorist organizations to lead them. By so choosing, the Palestinians showed the world that they reject peace and have chosen the path of terror and war.

While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has publicly condemned acts of terror and murder, in spite of the generous support he has received from the United States and Israel, to date he has opted not to effectively combat terror. Rather than educate his nation to embrace peace and tolerance, Abbas has overseen the Palestinian Authority school system, which teaches the children of Palestine to choose death over life and to seek Israel's destruction rather than the establishment of a free, democratic state that would live at peace with Israel.

This past June, Abbas decided to form a unity government with Hamas. By doing so, Abbas effectively abandoned peace as a strategy. Five years ago I said, "The United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure."

Since none of the Palestinian leaders are engaging in a sustained fight against terrorists, the United States recognizes that today Israel has no partner for peace. I am left with no choice but to withdraw American support for Palestinian statehood at this time. Since Israel has no peace partner, it is clear that the Israelis must take the necessary steps to protect themselves. Since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Gaza's international border with Egypt has turned into a thoroughfare for global terror with arms and personnel coming in from Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and beyond. I am disappointed with the fact that to date, Egypt has taken no effective action to block the terror traffic from its territory into the Palestinian Authority.

The United States looks with worry on the emerging situation in Gaza. I view the transformation of Gaza into a base for global terror not simply as a threat to Israel, but as a threat to international security. As a result, the United States will understand and support an Israeli operation aimed at restoring Israeli control over the international border.

Furthermore, Israelis have the right to live free of fear of missile and rocket attacks on their towns and villages. Today's situation, where Israeli communities bordering Gaza are exposed to daily barrages of mortars and rockets launched by terrorists in Gaza, is unacceptable and intolerable.

Over the past two years since Israel withdrew from Gaza, I have come to recognize a flaw in the two-state model. Until now, one of the guiding assumptions of the two-state model is that the Israeli settlements located beyond the 1949 armistice lines constitute an obstacle to peace. But we see that the evacuation of the settlements in Gaza and the northern West Bank only caused a further radicalization of Palestinian society.

Aside from that, it is time to recognize that the Palestinian demand to establish a state on land emptied of all Jewish presence is an immoral demand. It is impossible to expect that the Palestinians will conduct internal reforms when the international community gives them the legitimacy to base their nationalism on ethnic cleansing and the rejection of the humanity and moral rights of the Jewish nation. As a result, and without prejudicing future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, today the United States recognizes the right of Israelis and Palestinians to build their communities in a manner that provides for the natural growth of their populations.

The forces in the Palestinian Authority who fight Israel, and who educate their children to seek death by terror, are supported by the same states that support Hizbullah in Lebanon and the insurgents in Iraq. Iran and Syria cannot expect that their support for terror in Israel, Lebanon and Iraq will go unnoticed. While Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issues near daily threats to wipe Israel off the map, and Syria threatens Israel with war, they both must understand that Israel is an ally and a friend of the United States. We support Israel and its right to defend itself.

We hope that the day will finally come when the Palestinian people reject terror and hatred and embrace democracy and peace. On that day, the American people will be proud to look to the Palestinians to join the people of Israel and so many other nations of the world as our allies and friends.

There is snowball’s chance in hell for that speech to ever pass the lips of the US President. Instead, Ynet News carries this report which points the direction the Bush Administration will likely chose to follow:
WASHINGTON - The United States will continue financing the Palestinian Authority's presidential guard, which is loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, despite the force's disappointing performance in the Gaza Strip, officials in Washington said.

According to a US State Department spokesperson, General Keith Dayton, who is responsible for training the Palestinian forces, will continue his work after a reassessment of the situation. The training will likely be transferred from Gaza to the West Bank, the spokesperson said.

Dayton heads the training program for Abbas' security staff, which protects the Palestinian top brass as well as strategic sites in Gaza and various border crossings. Although Dayton praised the performance of the forces just a few weeks ago, the troops failed to stand up to Hamas forces in the past few days as they seized control in Gaza.
"Nobody's going to abandon the Palestinian people to the mercies of a terrorist organization and the most extreme elements of the terrorist organization. We're certainly not going to participate in this extinguishing the hopes of a whole swath of the Palestinian population to live in a Palestinian state," he added.

Yeah right. That is why the United States will continue to arm and train Fatah, the organization with more Israeli blood on their hands than Hamas, and the terror organization; which is even now, busy randomly kidnapping and killing Hamas supporters in the West Bank. Nothing says consensus building better than using the bodies of the dead. I suppose the US Administration guiding philosophy is; Fatah maybe a terrorist organization, but they are our terrorist organization.

Proof of widespread alien abductions?

I find it increasingly hard to believe that aliens have not abducted the entire population of Britain and repopulated the country with some kind of cloned dhimmies. The Jerusalem Post reports:
The BBC apologized this week for referring to Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and promised not to repeat "the mistake," following a complaint by four British organizations.

Arab Media Watch, Muslim Public Affairs Committee, Friends of Al-Aksa and the Institute of Islamic Political Thought sent a joint complaint to the BBC after a presenter on its Football Focus program on March 24 mentioned that Jerusalem was Israel's capital and "historic soul."
Unfortunately, the article does not tell us what the BBC thinks is the correct capital of Israel, and I bet if some enterprising soul asked the BBC to name the capital of Israel; it would cause widespread befuddlement and instant paralysis.

Freaks don't go out at night, ya, ya, ya.....

Idiocy is not restricted to rank. The Jerusalem Post provides the proof:
Dismissing claims that Hizbullah has returned to its former strength in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL commander Maj.-Gen. Claudio Graziano told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview on Thursday that the guerrilla group was practically non-existent south of the Litani River and that if the peacekeeping mission continued, the threat of war would be completely removed within three years.

Visiting Tel Aviv for meetings with IDF officers, Graziano, an Italian general appointed commander of UNIFIL in February, told The Post that his men believed in their mission of preventing hostilities in southern Lebanon and were willing to sacrifice their lives on Israel's behalf.

"Our job is to defend peace and it is a value-based job for soldiers," he explained. "There are people who will offer their lives for higher values like peace, security and stability." Graziano's claim that Hizbullah had not rearmed itself or rebuilt its military infrastructure in southern Lebanon came a week after Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz told The Post that the guerrilla group was back at its former strength particularly inside southern Lebanese urban areas as well as forest preserves.

He also rejected news reports that Hizbullah had built up a new bunker system nearby UNIFIL positions. Graziano said that UNIFIL - made up of over 13,000 soldiers - conducts over 400 patrols daily and mans close to 200 observation posts throughout the area of operations which is 1,100 square kilometers from the Litani River in the north to the Blue Line border in the south.

"In my area of operations there is no open hostile activity and we also do not see a rearmament happening," he said. "We are physically patrolling every corner of southern Lebanon and if there was a bunker [system] we would have found it."

Of course, it is relatively easy to pronounce definitively that Hezbollah is not arming when UNIFIL does not go out at night.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Whatever happened to moral clarity?

Am I the only one who finds it morally repulsive to read that US State Department officials are expressing their support for Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah organization in a public? Ha’aretz:
American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to underline the United States' support for him and his allies in the fighting between his Fatah party and the rival Hamas raging in the Gaza Strip.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the call essentially was to "talk to him about the current situation, the situation as he saw it, and to underline the United States' support for Abbas, for the Palestinian moderates who have made the commitment to working with the Israeli government and working with countries around the world on the issue of peace in the Middle East."
Let us not forget the moderate words, of a moderate Palestinian leader ‘who has made the commitment to working with the Israeli government and working with countries around the world on the issue of peace in the Middle East.’ Taken from the Jerusalem Post -January 2007:
"When Fatah was established, it was accused of treason and we were chased in every place," Abbas told the crowd. "But with the will and determination of its sons, Fatah has and will continue. We will not give up our principles and we have said that rifles should be directed against the occupation."

Or if that isn’t clear enough for you – how about this:
"We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation.”

Of course, I have never forgotten this picture of those moderate Fatah security forces type in action under the Ramallah sun.

And so the end begins.

“We will execute Fatah leaders” screams the headline at Ynet News:
Hamas gunmen on Thursday afternoon completed the takeover of the central building of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service's headquarters in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas members took over vehicles and weapons in the compound, which is considered the Palestinian Authority's main symbol in the Strip. The Preventive Security Service cooperated with Israel in the past and is identified with Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan.

The gunmen who entered the compound held a prayer there and waved a flag on the building's rooftop. Hamas' television station is broadcasting from inside the compound, where senior Hamas members had been questioned in the past.

The Hamas TV also broadcasted a display of weapons inside the building, as well as jeeps, mortar shells and bulletproof vests seized in the compound, which according to Hamas, were smuggled to Fatah by Israel and the Americans in the past few months through the border with Egypt.

Hamas members held a prayer in the compound, which they referred to as the "heresy compound." Hamas also changed the name of the neighborhood where the building is located from "Tel al-Hawa" to "Tel al-Islam." Hamas' media outlets threatened to reach Fatah and the PA's official radio and telelvision stations, and provided the names of senior Fatah officials they planned to execute. "We will reach you," Hamas members told the Fatah leaders. Meanwhile, the gunmen collected weapons and ammunitions from the Fatah members' homes and from families affiliated with them.

"This is the first step in the establishment of the Islamic state," a Hamas member told Ynet from inside the Preventive Security Service building. "This is Islam's victory, Allah's victory, and we pray to Allah for brining us this victory."

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority Chairman has now ordered Fatah forces in the Gaza Strip to fight back against the Hamas tide. Ho hum, ho hum.

Hamas poised to take Gaza City

Probably by the time most of you read this the last Fatah stronghold in the Gaza Strip will have fallen. Ha’aretz is reporting that Hamas has breeched the Fatah Gaza City compound:
Gunmen from the Islamic militant Hamas organization Thursday morning broke through Fatah defenses at its Preventive Security compound in Gaza City on Thursday, after bombarding the installation for hours. Fighters from the two factions were waging heavy battles inside the compound, sources said.

All is not well for Palestinian Authority Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, as the calls for his resignation grow louder reports the Jerusalem Post:
At a stormy meeting of Fatah leaders here, Abbas came under severe criticism for failing to issue clear orders to the PA security forces and Fatah militias in the Gaza Strip to launch counterattacks on Hamas.

Furious Fatah leaders demanded that Abbas declare a state of emergency and call early elections. They also expressed dismay with the way Abbas was handling the current crisis.

"Hamas is slaughtering our sons in the Gaza Strip and the only thing our president is doing is appealing for a cease-fire," said one Fatah leader. "We have at least 40,000 police officers and militiamen in the Gaza Strip. What's preventing them from launching a massive attack on Hamas? Does the president want to see the Gaza Strip fall into the hands of Hamas?"

Another top Fatah official called on Abbas to step down. "The president must resign," he said. "Unless he takes real measures to halt the Hamas offensive, President Abbas will face a revolt by Fatah."

And talk about an entrenched position firmly behind the eightball. The Toronto Star is still characterizing the battles as “verging of civil war.” I would suggest the civil war is nearly over in the Gaza Strip. What we are seeing now is the cleaning or mopping up stage which comes at the end of a civil war.

Al Jazeera is reporting that the UN Secretary General has suggested an international force be sent to restore order to the Gaza Strip.
The United Nations may send an international force to restore calm to the Gaza Strip wracked by deadly factional fighting.

"This is an idea we need to explore," Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said on Wednesday, adding that he had held preliminary discussions about the idea with members of the UN Security Council.

Ban said Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, had raised the idea with him in a phone conversation on Tuesday and noted that Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, had also brought it up. "I need to consider more in detail with the countries concerned," he said, including where to locate the force and what its mandate would be.

Of course, Hamas has an opinion on any deployment of UN peacekeeping forces within its domain. Ha’aretz reports Hamas first official edit from Hamastan:
Hamas said Thursday that it would refuse to accept a multinational force along the Gaza-Egypt border and would treat it as an occupying power.

"Hamas rejects any dispatch of foreign forces to the Gaza Strip," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said. "The movement would regard those forces as occupation forces no different to the Israeli occupation, regardless of their nationality."

The Jerusalem Post reports Cairo isn’t down with the idea either:
Cairo vehemently objects to stationing international forces along its border with the Gaza Strip, an idea recently floated in Jerusalem, the head of the Egyptian security team in the Gaza Strip said on Saturday. Burhan Hammad, who has been mediating between Hamas and Fatah for the past year, described the talk about an international force as "nonsense."

Egypt, he said, can't accept the presence of such a force along its border with the Gaza Strip. "Egypt has a peace treaty with Israel," he said. "There is no need for an international force and Egypt won't accept the idea."

But really, what country would be fool enough to supply and deploy troops in the middle of an openly hostile and well-armed Hamastan?

How quick can you say three state solution?

I find it particularly telling how many MSM papers keep using headlines like “Fatah-Hamas on the brink of civil war”. There is no brink. It is a full borne civil war whose Gaza chapter has nearly ended. The next few days will nothing more than a Hamas methodically wiping out the last vestiges of Fatah’s Gaza Strip presence.

Now that Hamas is in the last stages of consolidating their power base in the Gaza Strip, we all need to realize the Quartet’s Middle East Road Map has been fast tracked right off the rails and the two state solution is lying down deader than road kill. Fatah’s day as a power in the Gaza Strip has come and gone - nor is it ever coming back.

Hamas will be spending the following days killing off the remnants of Fatah’s upper and mid-level leader/membership that did not have the good sense to flee the Strip. Nor is Fatah in a geo/political position to be able to launch a counter-offensive from the West Bank into the Strip and wrestle control back from Hamas. I cannot wait to see whether Iran or Syria becomes the first nation to congratulate the Palestinians on the establishment of Hamastan.

So what happens next? Well, it all depends. If Hamas is wise, it will quickly kill off any open support for Fatah within Gaza and restore civil governance ASAP. Secondly, it should start reaching out and making the rounds of the Gulf States and not just for aid but to build the political clout necessary to force international recognition of Hamastan as a separate Palestinian entity. Hamas can use the canard that “Hamastan must be bribed away from the Iranian/Syrian boogieman” which should work with the Arab/Sunni Gulf states as well as seriously tug on the heartstrings of both the Euroweanies and the US State Department.

International recognition of Hamastan is crucial, and not just to obtain needed foreign aid for financing governance, but any action, which can either significantly reduce the pool of international aid available to Hamas’ archrivals (Fatah) in the West Bank or limit the scope of Fatah’s legitimacy internationally is preferable for Hamas prevailing in the long run. While Fatah can be said to control the West Bank, Hamas has a significant fifth column presence in the area while Fatah is seriously hamstrung by the Israeli presence.

All Hamas has to do to prevail in the long run is offer relatively good civil governance (for the Mid-East) in Hamastan and stay out of an open major conflict with the Israelis – at least until they armed themselves appropriately as a state. Fatah is a corrupt and dysfunction organization. If Hamas can show themselves relatively capable of decent governance it can easily seduce the population of the West Bank to follow their lead.

Of course, this all depends if Hamas will be wised. And Fatah, well I suspect Fatah will announce shortly that it will break with the Hamas dominated Palestinian Authority but I have little hope of seeing Fatah reform itself while governing the West Bank. Instead, I suspect we will be watching an internal power struggle within Fatah. Much blood-letting and blame will go around for all.

And what about the Israelis? Let you into a little secret. Contrary to rumour - the Israelis don’t like occupation at that much.

EU would be happy to be used as anti-aircraft cover for Hamas

Well, European Union Leader Solana did not say it exactly that way but experience should teach us that is what this hair brained scheme would amount to. Taken from Ha’aretz:
The European Union would consider participating in an international force in Gaza if asked by the major players in the region, the EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Wednesday. "If we are asked, of course, we will consider the possibility," Solana told reporters.

He spoke in response to a suggestion by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that international forces could be stationed along the Gaza Strip's volatile border with Egypt to prevent arms from reaching Palestinian militants.

The EU, which has police officers already helping to monitor the Gaza-Egypt border, has long said it would examine a possible peacekeeping role in the region if there is an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Solana stressed that as yet there had been no decision among players in the region to seek EU help."We are far from a decision," he said. "We'll see how things go, and what is the decision to be taken by the important players, that have to take a decision, which are ... the Israelis, the Palestinians and the Egyptians."

One thing is certain, the EU is already in full denial. The EU observers already posted on the Philadelphi route have yet to miss an opportunity to high tail it and run to the nearest IDF outpost when events on the border threaten to turn ok corralish. As far as a UN international force, well, let us remember about what an outstanding job of looking the other way UNIFIL has been doing on the Lebanese-Israeli border for the last 20 or so odd years while Hezbollah dug-in and fully stockpiled weapons and munitions.

The weak player on the border is, and has always been, the Egyptians. If the Egyptians could be weaned from the cash cow arms smuggling has become and fully police/enforce their side of the border there would be no need of an international force to be stationed on the Philadelpi route. I cannot envision a scenario, whereby the Egyptians could be induced to allow an international force police carte blanche to be stationed alongside their border with Hamastan. And then, of course, there is always the question of why should Hamastan agree to a foreign force policing their side of the border?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fatah flees Gaza; Hamas offers the Olive branch of full capitulation

This has to be my second favourite report from Ha’aretz today:
Some 40 security officials affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party fled to Egypt on Wednesday, to escape the ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip, Egyptian officials said.

The Popular Resistance Committees, a militant group allied with Hamas, said Wednesday evening that it had taken control of Gaza's border with Egypt to prevent arms smuggling and to ensure that Gaze residents did not flee over the border.
Hamas now controls the Gaza Strip and the Popular Resistance Committee has taken over border control with Egypt. Oy. But my favourite Ha’aretz report of the day is Hamas’ ceasefire deal to Fatah:
Earlier, a Hamas spokesman offered a conditional ceasefire under which the interior minister, a post now held by Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, would command all of the Palestinian security services.

"[Egyptian mediators] received the proposal and promised to present it to Abbas. The ball is now in [his] court. Hamas does not set impossible conditions, and if there are serious intentions to resolve the crisis, we will be ready to reciprocate," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman.
So instead of just controlling the Gaza Strip, Hamas would undertake responsibility and control of the entire security apparatus for the West Bank as well. Somehow, I just think this is the deal Abbas cannot afford to accept and expect to live after the hand over.

Of White Washing & Boycotts

Now that Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip is nearly complete, I suspect I will be reading more articles and opinion pieces (just like this one from the Toronto Star) which attempt to white wash Fatah of all responsibility for the civil strife in the Gaza Strip. This Toronto Star article rightly reports on the behaviour of Hamas in the Gaza Strip but strangely omits listing Fatah’s culpability from the very uncivil strife within Gaza. Reading this piece one could get the idea that Fatah members have not been busy kidnapping or throwing Hamas members off buildings as well in the Strip.

And before long I expect to read some twit of a pundit suggest that the international economic foreign aid embargo of the Hamas lead Palestinian Authority lies at the heart of the conflict rather than Fatah’s refusal to bend to the will of the Palestinian electorate and share power with Hamas. So as a public service announcement, I want to remind readers of the Arutz Sheva report based on figures supplied by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
According to a recent report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), donations to the Hamas-led PA from foreign countries have risen by almost 300 percent in 2006, totaling $900 million – as opposed to $349 million the previous year. The sharp increase came despite the international boycott of the PA.

According to the report, both Arab and Western countries increased their donations, channeling them through an account known as the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) and the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Let me recap - foreign aid tripled. I should be so boycotted.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Good Morning Gaza, Good Night Hamastan

It looks like its going to be an absolutely banner day for Hamas in the Gaza Strip despite an early assault launched by Fatah on Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s home in the Shati refugee camp reports the Jerusalem Post reports:
A rocket-propelled grenade hit the home of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday in what his Hamas movement said was an assassination attempt by Fatah, but caused no injuries. Exasperated Egyptian mediators said the bitter rivals turned down an appeal to meet for truce talks.

Heavy gun battles erupted in several locations, in what security officials described as a Hamas assault on positions of the Fatah-allied security forces, and four security bases were overrun by Hamas in the southern town of Khan Younis. In the West Bank, Fatah gunmen threatened to retaliate by killing Hamas leaders.

I have come to the conclusion; no one does refugee camp quite like Palestinian leaders - regardless of the degree of religiosity. Granite counter-tops in the midst of a home located in the UNWRA run refugee camp…who would have thought it?
Posted by Picasa
(Reuters Photo)

Furthermore, I think it is extremely clever of Hamas to begin seizing control of the hospitals in the Gaza Strip - even if it is a touch Machiavellian. This one in Khan Younis represents the third one Hamas has effectively taken control over in the last 48 hours.

And the Jerusalem Post is report that it looks like Hamas is on the verge of capturing the flag in this report:
Hamas forces captured the headquarters of the Fatah-allied security forces in northern Gaza, seizing control of a key prize in the bloody power struggle between the sides, Hamas and Fatah officials said. Hamas attacked the compound with mortars and automatic gunfire, and after several hours of battle, seized control, said Hamas commander Wael al-Shakra.

A Fatah security official confirmed the building had been lost. He said at least 10 people were killed and 30 wounded. The attack was part of a full-scale assault launched by Hamas earlier Tuesday afternoon against Fatah security bases and positions in Gaza.

Hamas-affiliated television said that the organization overtook the entire northern section of the Gaza Strip. After airing the report, the station was attacked by PA security forces and forced to play pro-Fatah songs.

Israel Radio also reported that a top Fatah military official sent a message to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stating that security forces were holding their ground, but calling on the Fatah leader to order an end to the current policy of restraint, allowing troops to return fire. Less then an hour after the attack, Abbas called for an immediate cease-fire.

In response to the Hamas assault, Fatah gunmen kidnapped a deputy Cabinet minister from Hamas on Tuesday. The fate of Deputy Transportation Minister Faidi Shabaneh, 46, was not known. Members of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a violent Fatah offshoot, said Shabaneh was not harmed, denying claims on Hamas Web sites that he had been killed by his captors. Hamas said Shabaneh was seized by gunmen after he emerged from his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Also on Tuesday afternoon, Fatah announced that within several hours, the faction would decide whether to stay in the unity government with Hamas, or leave the Palestinian Authority government altogether, Israel Radio reported. The announcement coincided with a Hamas attack on the National Security headquarters in Gaza, an incident which followed a recent threat of such action by the extremist Islamic faction. National Security is one of the armed forces affiliated with Fatah. Hamas also announced that Fatah must evacuate all buildings used by Military Intelligence, the Revolutionary Guard, National Security and Preventive Security.
Ynet News carries this pass the popcorn report:
Both Fatah and Hamas are preparing for an even larger confrontation in the coming hours, in a fight for control of various power centers in Gaza, sources from both factions told Ynet Tuesday night. Many of these are located near the office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas sources said they are determined to take over important Fatah security headquarters all over Gaza and believe that their faction and its allies hOne operative said that Hamas gunmen have been training in recent months to learn how to infiltrate compounds and secured outposts. He said that, because of their training and weaponry, he believed his faction would be able to defeat Fatah.

Hamas field operatives said their forces intend to split into several squads, of six armed men on average, with 120 bullets per operative and a missile-launcher, eight mortars and 4 grenades in every cell.

According to a senior Hamas source, "Yassin" mortars – the organization's version of a D2 mortar – will be the key in beating the rival faction. He said Hamas possessed and intended to use hundreds of these mortars Tuesday night.

Fatah sources, on the other hand, feel well-equipped to put up a fight and drive back any Hamas attack. They said tens of thousands of operatives would deploy near the Muntada area - where Abbas' office and several security headquarters are located. Fatah operatives, who are preparing for a defensive operation, have already deployed in most of the tall buildings overlooking the area. They said they have several armored vehicles and extensive weapons stores at hand.
Good night Gaza, bye-bye Fatah, and welcome to Hamastan.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Where will they fight next?

Not only was the Egyptian ceasefire a bust; now Fatah and Hamas are shooting it out in the hospitals of Gaza reports the Jerusalem Post:
Eyewitnesses said four Palestinians were killed in fierce fighting inside the Bet Hanun Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. Among the victims were Eid al-Masri, and his sons, Faraj and Ibrahim. Doctors said they were forced to close the hospital because of the fighting, which caused a power outage.

A similar gun battle erupted between Hamas and Fatah militiamen at Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, the largest medical center in the Strip, where two people were killed. One of the victims was identified as Mazen Ajour, a commander of Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin Kassam.

Hamas said Ajour was killed execution-style after being kidnapped by Fatah gunmen and PA security officers. Local reporters told The Jerusalem Post that dozens of families living close to the hospital fled their homes out of fear for their lives.

The Palestinian Doctors' Union called on all militiamen to immediately withdraw from the hospitals, saying the fighting was threatening the lives of hundreds of patients. The union also appealed to the PA leadership to intervene to stop the fighting between Fatah and Hamas.

Even the Camels suffer from road rage

Driving hazards are pretty much same all over the world. It really all is just a matter or perspective. In the Miramichi, bear, moose, and deer make up the bulk of creatures to watch out for while driving but in southern Israel its’ camels and their negligent owners. Ynet News:
A shepherd from the Negev who let his camels wander free was convicted of causing the death of a driver who collided with one of them on the Be'er Sheva-Dimona highway.

Driving through the Negev region, travelers have long since complained about the herds of wandering camels that often cause accidents, many of which have been deadly.In 2002, a family of four died when their car collided with a camel standing in the road. One year later, Meir Medlesi from Dimona was driving southward at nighttime when he too suffered a similar fate.

A police inquiry into Medlesi's death traced the camel back to Faraj al-Salalmi, a local shepherd. The State charged him with negligent homicide for failing to supervise his herd and not behaving "in a manner that any reasonable camel owner would under the circumstances."

The shepherd in this case was convicted but I find I have to restrain myself from making cheap jokes about camels releasing their inner hamas.

The ties that bind a society together

Unsurprisingly, two suspected kidnappers of Israeli hostage Cpl. Schalit have long been on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority reports the Jerusalem Post, and furthermore, their families are most unhappy about the scale of pension payouts.
Some of the Palestinian gunmen who participated in the kidnapping of IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit last year have long been on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian sources revealed Sunday. The sources named two of the suspected kidnappers as Muhammad Azmi Farawneh and Majdi Tayseer Hammad. The two were killed by Israel in separate attacks over the past year.

Farawneh is believed to have played a key role in the abduction of Schalit. Hammad was the commander of the Nasser Salah Eddin Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees - one of the groups that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. The two were killed a few weeks after the abduction in air strikes launched by the IAF in the Gaza Strip.

The fact that they have been on the payroll of the PA was disclosed after their families protested against the low pension that the PA has decided to allocate them. Farawneh's family is now receiving a monthly payment of NIS 38 (less than $10), while Hammad's family is getting only NIS 79 (just under $20). A Palestinian pension law approved in 2005 grants the families of PA pensioners and the deceased monthly salaries constituting 7.5% of the basic salary.

The families have sought the assistance of a Palestinian legal group in exerting pressure on the PA to change the pension law so that they would receive larger sums of money. The group wrote over the weekend to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas protesting against the "injustice" done to the families of Palestinian "martyrs" and pensioners.

The group, called the Association Center for Palestinian Right, also wrote to members of the Palestinian Legislative Council asking them to change the law immediately, saying it was inconceivable that the families of "martyrs" should receive such ridiculous payments. Almost all Palestinians who are killed in clashes with the IDF are entitled to a salary from the PA to support their families. The PA has also been paying salaries to thousands of Fatah gunmen belonging to the faction's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades. The majority of these gunmen are registered as members of various branches of the PA security forces, particularly the General Intelligence, Force 17 and the Preventive Security Service. But until now it was not common knowledge that members of the Popular Resistance Committees had also been receiving salaries from the PA.

Let us not forget the Popular Resistance Committee is an ad-hoc group drawn from all the various and sundry terror groups operating within the Palestinian Authority, and whose reason for existence is - to increase inter-terror cooperation.

All is not quiet on the southern front

There has been so little international media coverage of Sderot so it is easy to assume all is quiet on the southern home front. Ynet News reports six kassams fell this morning:
Palestinian gunmen fired six Qassam rockets at the town of Sderot and the western Negev communities on Monday morning, following a number of relatively quiet days in southern Israel. The rockets landed in open areas, and there were no reports of injuries or damage. The al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, claimed responsibility for firing the rockets.

The Qassams were launched while children were making their way to schools and kindergartens. Due to the state of emergency in the area, the children are traveling in fortified buses. The Sderot parents committee demanded that the Education Ministry keep its promise to hold Monday's civics matriculation exam outside the city.

Batya Katar, chairman of the committee, told Ynet, "In spite of the recent relative calm, many students still fail to come to school. There are classes which are only attended by four or five students." Katar added that many students said that were unable to study for their matriculation exams inside Sderot due to the situation. "This calm is a very relative calm, and we knew that it would be followed by additional Qassam rockets," she said.
I won't hold my breath waiting for any condemnation of Palestinians terrorists, but imagine the sound level if the IDF deliberately attempted to fire rockets on busloads of Palestinian school children.

But all is not well within the Palestinian Authority either. Apparently, 92% of the Palestinian population is suffering from either depression or related anxiety caused by the in-fighting among terror groups reports Ynet News.
Ninety-two percent of Palestinians suffer from depression-related anxiety, caused by despair over violence between Hamas and Fatah gunmen and the apparent demise of the Palestinian unity government, according to a poll published by the Washington Times on Monday morning.

Jamil Rabah, the director of Ramallah-based Near East Consulting, polled 801 Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem for the latest survey, which has a margin of error of 3.4 percent.

The poll was taken last month, following a deadly flare-up between Hamas and Fatah gunmen that left dozens dead in Gaza and laid bare a dysfunctional unity government. The unrest cuts across region, political affiliation and social class, according to the poll findings. "The higher the level of depression, or discontent, the higher this score comes out, the higher the social fragmentation of society," Rabah told the Washington Times. The data constitute a jump of 15 percent compared with a poll conducted in October and more than double the level from November 2005.

Palestinians should take this to heart rather than prozac; the Egyptians have mediated another successful ceasefire between Hamas and Fatah.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

ceasefire, smeasefire.

The Fatah-Hamas ceasefire has come full circle reports Ynet News:
Clashes re-erupted in Gaza early Monday when gunmen opened fire in the house of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.There were no immediate reports of casualties in the attack on Haniyeh’s house in the Shati refugee camp next to Gaza City. It was the first time in a month of infighting that Haniyeh was an apparent target, underlining an escalation in tactics by the warring sides.

At least three Palestinians were killed in gun battles between Fatah and Hamas combatants in the Gaza Strip Sunday. Among the casualties was the imam of a Hamas-affiliated mosque, who was executed by Fatah gunmen.

Earlier Palestinian sources reported that a member of Fatah’s Force 17 plummeted to his death Sunday after being thrown by Hamas gunmen from the 15th floor of a Gaza City high-rise. The Fatah man, Muhammad Sawirky, 25, was kidnapped along with another Force 17 member near one of the city’s mosques; his body was found several hours later with numerous signs of violence on it, according to medical sources. The Fatah member’s death prompted clashes in different parts of the city; at least 11 people were injured.

Finally tally for this weekend round of ceasefire; 2 dead, 40 wounded.

Misery demands company

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the Palestinian Authority mufti has issue a fatwa forbidding Muslims to the Palestinian Authority:
Sources in the PA Foreign Ministry told The Jerusalem Post that some 10,000 Palestinians have filed requests to emigrate from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year. They said the requests had been approved. "Every day we hear about hundreds of Palestinians who file requests for emigration with different consulates and diplomatic missions," the sources said. "According to our statistics, there are at least 45,000 emigration applications being reviewed by different countries." The sources said most of the applicants were young men seeking work abroad. They said the majority of them wanted to move to the US, EU and Canada.

The number of Palestinians who wish to emigrate increased significantly after the second intifada broke out in September 2000. Figures published by a number of Palestinian groups show that 50,000 to 80,000 people emigrated in the first few years after the violence erupted. Dr. Nu'man Amr of Al-Quds University attributed the phenomenon to the harsh economic situation and the high rate of unemployment. "Most university graduates can't find jobs here," he said. "Even those who find jobs here are not receiving good salaries."

Entitled "No Permission to Emigrate from Palestine," the fatwa reads: "There has been much talk in Palestine about emigration, especially among the young people, due to the difficult security and economic situation. This is being done in search of a better life abroad. Many are continuing to rush to the gates of the embassies and consulates of the Western nations with requests for visas in order to reside permanently in those countries.

"We hereby declare that emigration from the blessed lands is not permitted according to religious law. The people living in these areas must remain in their homes and must not leave them to conquerors. Those who abide by this ruling will perform an honorable deed and will support the Aksa Mosque." However, the fatwa permits Muslims to travel abroad temporarily for study and work "as long as they are committed to returning and living in the blessed lands."

A recent public opinion poll conducted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip showed that that 82.7 percent of the Palestinians are pessimistic regarding their conditions. The survey, conducted by the Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah University in Nablus, also reported that 92% of respondents feel insecure because of the growing lawlessness in the PA-run areas.

I will say it since no one else well - somebody, anybody, let those people go. Europe is very nice but Canada is far too cold and inhospitable.

I stand in complete awe...

at the complete ineffectualness of the Lebanese Army. Twenty-one days and the fight isn’t close to ending. Reuters:
NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon (Reuters) - Five Lebanese soldiers were killed on Saturday in the latest bout of heavy fighting against al Qaeda-inspired militants entrenched in a Palestinian refugee camp, a military source said.

At least 125 people, including 53 soldiers and 42 militants, have been killed since the fighting began on May 20 -- almost three weeks ago -- making it Lebanon's worst internal violence since the 1975-1990 civil war.

It is a rare group of soldiers who can shell a refugee camp from entrenched postions and still lose more soldiers than terrorists.

Ahh – does PETA know about this?

The IDF wounded on Palestinian and killed another on Friday night near Hebron reports Ynet News. While a shoot-up with Palestinian gunmen is really not uncommon what startled me was the excuse given for the men carrying weapons:
Soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces operating in Tapuah, near Hebron, killed an armed Palestinian and wounded another, Friday night. Palestinian sources reported that the two were hunters.

For some reason, when I think of hunters - Palestinians are the last people that come to mind.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Land for Pieces

Sometimes I wonder if the Israeli Prime Minister isn’t the Arabs secret weapon. Ynet New reports:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently relayed a secret message to Syrian President Bashar Assad saying Israel knew what the price of peace was and would be willing to pay it, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday. According to the report, Olmert told the Syrian leader Israel would return the Golan in exchange for a comprehensive peace agreement and the severing of Damascus’ alliance with Iran and terror groups in the region.
Because the land for peace formula has worked so well in the past. Why just ask the citizens of Sderot.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Palestinian "Moderate" party request more munitions

Another round of cease fire ended in the Gaza Strip. Ha’aretz is reporting 1 dead Fatah member and 9 others wounded.
A Fatah man was killed by Hamas militants early Thursday in a gunbattle in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said, becoming the first casualty in internal fighting in more than two weeks. Five others were wounded in the gunbattle near Rafah, two seriously, Palestinian hospital officials said.

The early morning battle began with Hamas gunmen shooting at a group of Fatah men near Rafah, according to a security official from the town. He said Hamas gunmen then surrounded a house belonging to a local Fatah leader, and lobbed explosives at the house. In the exchange of fire, Fuad Wahaba, 27, the brother of the Fatah official, was killed.

Hamas confirmed that a skirmish had taken place but said its men opened fire after being shot at by Fatah gunmen. There have been sporadic clashes and continued tit-for-tat kidnappings, but the incidents were quickly resolved, as the two factions held talks in Cairo to cement their cease-fire. The talks ended Wednesday.

The fighting in Rafah continued after that incident, with masked Hamas men surrounding four other homes belonging to Fatah officials, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

I have to admit I gave up trying to keep count of when the ceasefires begin and end in the Gaza Strip about two weeks ago as there didn’t seem to be much point. Now Fatah officials are now asking Israel to allow the importation of munitions from Egypt in order to be able to effective counter the Hamas hegamony. And what a list of goodies they ask for. Ha’aretz reports:
Senior Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip have asked Israel to allow them to receive large shipments of arms and ammunition from Arab countries, including Egypt. The group says it needs the weapons to counter attacks by Hamas, which has an overwhelming advantage in the Gaza Strip. On Thursday morning, a Fatah member was killed in a gunbattle with rival Hamas, the first internal clashes for more than two weeks.

Israel has not officially responded to the request, which includes dozens of armored cars, hundreds of armor-piercing RPG rockets, thousands of hand grenades and millions of rounds of ammunition for small caliber weapons. In addition, Fatah is organizing yet another paramilitary force in the Gaza Strip, sources say.
Just what the Gaza Strip needs - another paramilitary organization and with more munitions. I don’t know why I didn’t suggest it but what is far more interesting in this Ha’aretz article is the conflicting assessments between Israel’s military intelligence and the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security force) on the strenght of Fatah in the Gaza Strip:
Israeli intelligence officials are not unanimous in their assessments of Fatah's and Hamas' strength in Gaza. Most Shin Bet experts and officers in charge of activity in the territories believe that Fatah is on the verge of collapse in the strip and that a future confrontation with Hamas may bring about its final defeat. They argue that there is no point in supporting Fatah, because all the equipment the movement receives will eventually fall into Hamas' hands.

On the other hand, Military Intelligence and other intelligence experts believe that Fatah is not close to surrendering, and that reinforcing the group with equipment from abroad should be considered seriously. Some Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip cite the latest round of fighting with Hamas as proof that the organization is much stronger than was originally thought. General Dayton supports this position, and has even made statements to this effect during U.S. congressional hearings.

So who’s intel is more accurate - Shin Bet or the IDF military intelligence? Of course, the IDF’s military intelligence position is backed by US Administration’s position as well as Fatah’s personal assesments; though, I do find I am unable to follow the logic of Fatah officials citing the lastest round of fighting as proof that Fatah is stronger than originally thought. I mean, well, Hamas launching attacks on a Fatah official’s homes, leaving one 1 dead and 9 others wounded doesn’t particularly conjure up an image of strenght in my mind.