Posts Tagged ‘gaza’

Gaza, Hamas and CNN

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

CNN has admitted altering its news coverage in Iraq prior to the US invasion in order to avoid being punished or expelled by Saddam Hussein. During the Israeli invasion of Gaza the past two weeks, another incident involving CNN and the news it is reporting has been a subject of discussion. Last week, CNN showed a video purporting to be of a 12-year-old boy killed by Israeli rockets. The scene has been analyzed by a number of physicians and other persons skilled at emergency care and the CPR depicted in the video is not credible. My wife and I looked at it and the boy is not being ventilated, plus the CPR chest compressions are appropriate for a five year old, not 12. They are too rapid and not forceful enough.

Then, it turns out that the supposed victim is the brother of the Hamas TV producer. CNN has defended the video after first removing it from its site.

“It’s absolute nonsense,” Paul Martin, co-owner of World News and Features, said of accusations leveled by bloggers at videographer Ashraf Mashharawi.

“He’s a man of enormous integrity and would never get involved with any sort of manipulation of images, let alone when the person dying is his own brother,” Martin said. “I know the whole family. I know them very well. … [Mashharawi] is upset and angry that anyone would think of him having done anything like this. … This is ridiculous. He’s independent.”

What is “World News and Features ?” Take a look at their web site.

Film-maker Paul Martin, of WORLD NEWS & FEATURES, has gained exclusive access to the men who fire the rockets. Martin filmed with a militant group as they prepared to risk their lives – and his – in a rocket-firing operation. He presents a unique view of the ROCKET MEN of Gaza.

What do you think the chances of survival for a neutral observer would be with “the rocket men of Gaza?” This is a Hamas front and the whole thing is a sham.

ANOTHER VIEW: Here is a unique perspective on Hamas and Gaza.

When Hamas routed Fatah in Gaza in 2007, it cost nearly 350 lives and 1,000 wounded. Fatah’s surrender brought only a temporary stop to the type of violence and bloodshed that are commonly seen in lands where at least 30% of the male population is in the 15-to-29 age bracket.

In such “youth bulge” countries, young men tend to eliminate each other or get killed in aggressive wars until a balance is reached between their ambitions and the number of acceptable positions available in their society. In Arab nations such as Lebanon (150,000 dead in the civil war between 1975 and 1990) or Algeria (200,000 dead in the Islamists’ war against their own people between 1999 and 2006), the slaughter abated only when the fertility rates in these countries fell from seven children per woman to fewer than two. The warring stopped because no more warriors were being born.

Why is there a “youth bulge” in Gaza ?

The reason for Gaza’s endless youth bulge is that a large majority of its population does not have to provide for its offspring. Most babies are fed, clothed, vaccinated and educated by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Unlike the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, which deals with the rest of the world’s refugees and aims to settle them in their respective host countries, UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian problem by classifying as refugees not only those who originally fled their homes, but all of their descendents as well.

UNRWA is benevolently funded by the U.S. (31%) and the European Union (nearly 50%) — only 7% of the funds come from Muslim sources. Thanks to the West’s largesse, nearly the entire population of Gaza lives in a kind of lowly but regularly paid dependence. One result of this unlimited welfare is an endless population boom.

Interesting point of view. We are funding the production of young men whose only future is to die in wars or gang fights. Maybe we should introduce the Gazans to These people.

By the way, Hamas and Hezbollah are rivals as much as allies against Israel. Neither is interested in peaceful co-existence.

A solution to the Palestinian problem

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

UPDATE: The Israeli offensive against Hamas may be reestablishing the deterrent in the Arab world.

Al Jazeera’s reportage yesterday avoided interviewing ordinary Gazans. Arab sources in Gaza confided that the public anger is not directed at Israel any more than it is at Hamas. Al Jazeera, doing a superb job as PR agents for Iran’s proxies, likely wanted to avoid risking those types of reactions from the battlefield.

The present Gaza situation seems to be one more chapter in an insoluble problem. There are, however, some other options that are beginning to be considered. Daniel Pipes has some potential solutions that we know won’t work:

1. Israeli control. Neither side wishes to continue the situation that began in 1967, when the Israel Defense Forces took control of a population that is religiously, culturally, economically, and politically different and hostile.

2. A Palestinian state. The 1993 Oslo Accords began this process but a toxic brew of anarchy, ideological extremism, antisemitism, jihadism, and warlordism led to complete Palestinian failure.

3. A binational state: Given the two populations’ mutual antipathy, the prospect of a combined Israel-Palestine (what Muammar al-Qaddafi calls “Israstine”) is as absurd as it seems.

What is left ? What was the situation before 1967 ?

Shared Jordanian-Egyptian rule: Amman rules the West Bank and Cairo runs Gaza.

Jordan ruled the West Bank and Egypt ruled Gaza.

Not everyone agrees that it is a good idea, but that was five years ago.

In 2007, there was new interest in the idea.

Call it retro geopolitics, or history repeating itself, but the idea of the Palestinian territories – at least the West Bank – rejoining the Hashemite Kingdom to form some kind of confederation seems to be gaining traction on both sides of the Jordan River.

The concept has been raised quietly before but was deemed taboo, in part because Palestinian leaders feared it could squelch their larger aspirations for an independent state.

But given the deteriorating security in the Palestinian territories amid an ongoing power struggle between Fatah and Hamas, some Palestinians are again looking east to Jordan – a country whose majority population is of Palestinian descent. Jordan’s King Abdullah II – concerned about a full collapse of the Palestinian Authority as well as unilateral Israeli moves in the West Bank – is increasingly involved in bringing opinion-shapers and would-be peacemakers together to reconsider the idea.

The last time Jordan and the Palestinians tried to live together, it ended in Black September, when Jordan expelled the PLO from its territory.

In February 1969, Arafat (who remained the leader of Al Fatah) became head of the PLO. By early 1970, at least seven guerrilla organizations were identified in Jordan. One of the most important organizations was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) led by George Habash. Although the PLO sought to integrate these various groups and announced from time to time that this process had occurred, they were never effectively united (see The Palestinians and the Palestine Liberation Organization , ch. 4).

At first by conviction and then by political necessity, Hussein sought accommodation with the fedayeen and provided training sites and assistance. In Jordan’s internal politics, however, the main issue between 1967 and 1971 was the struggle between the government and the guerrilla organizations for political control of the country. Based in the refugee camps, the fedayeen virtually developed a state within a state, easily obtaining funds and arms from both the Arab states and Eastern Europe and openly flouting Jordanian law.

The result was a short war that expelled the PLO. The “Black September” terrorist group took its name from this event. What has changed ? Arafat is no longer alive and the Palestinians have had 37 years to learn how well they are ruled by terrorist gangs.

Is Jordan interested in another attempt to rule the West Bank ? There is evidence that they are.

Hamas’s landslide victory in the recent Palestinian parliamentary elections is the latest sign of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) failure. The collapse of the West Bank into civil chaos and jihadist control would pose a security dilemma not only for Israel but also for Jordan. It is a scenario that increasingly occupies the Jordanian government’s strategic thinking.

Jordan’s interest in the West Bank is long-standing. The Jordanian army occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1948 but was ousted by the Israeli Defense Forces in the 1967 Six-Day war. King Hussein continued to claim sovereignty until July 31, 1988, when, in the midst of the first Palestinian intifada, he renounced Jordan’s official administrative and legal roles in the territory. His motives were not entirely altruistic or sparked by commitment to Palestinian nationalism; rather, he feared the spread of Palestinian unrest to the East Bank.

The king could not, however, renounce all Jordanian interests in the territory because the economic, social, and familial links were too strong. Hussein also remained committed to Jordan’s traditional custodial role for the Haram al-Sharif mosque in Jerusalem even as Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) worked to undermine Jordanian control there. Despite Jordan’s unilateral disengagement from the West Bank, the kingdom continued to issue two-year Jordanian passports to West Bankers, down from the standard five-year passports they had previously received.

Israel may be ready to negotiate with Jordan to take over the West Bank and rule the Palestinians. It would require some decision about West Bank settlements but the solution would be preferable to the status quo and there is little prospect that the “two state solution” is viable 15 years after Oslo. Even the Palestinians seem ready to see Jordan take over.

“Everything has been ruined for us — we’ve been fighting for 60 years and nothing is left,” Mr. Khalil said, speaking of the Palestinian cause. Just weeks earlier, he might have been speaking enthusiastically to his friends here, in their usual hangout, about resistance, of fighting for his rights as a Palestinian and of one day returning to a Palestinian state.

Last Wednesday, however, he spoke of what he saw as a less satisfying goal for the Palestinians here and one that raises concerns for many other Jordanians: Palestinian union with Jordan.

“It would be better if Jordan ran things in Palestine, if King Abdullah could take control of the West Bank,” Mr. Khalil said, as his friends nodded. “The issue would be over if Jordan just took control.”

What about Gaza ? Mubarak says they do not want Gaza (who would?), but not all Egyptians agree.

The state-owned media rarely mention Egypt’s role in restricting the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza. Instead they highlight the aid Egypt sends to Gaza and its occasional decisions to open the border for humanitarian cases.

But Egyptians interested in regional affairs have easy access through the internet, satellite television and the independent local press to information about the suffering in Gaza and their government’s role there.

So why does Egypt continue to restrict access to Gaza?

THE BURDEN OF GAZA — Cairo believes that if it left the Egypt-Gaza border wide open Israel would wash its hands of responsibility for ensuring the Gazans receive enough to keep them alive — food, water, medical supplies, electricity and other essentials. Egyptian diplomats say that Israel would seal the border with Gaza on its side, diverting all trade and traffic through Egypt.

The burden would be a drain on Egyptian resources and the authorities might find it hard to prevent an influx of Gaza Palestinians seeking work and housing.

What about the history ?

Gaza is arguably more a part of Egypt than of “Palestine.” During most of the Islamic period, it was either controlled by Cairo or part of Egypt administratively. Gazan colloquial Arabic is identical to what Egyptians living in Sinai speak. Economically, Gaza has most connections to Egypt. Hamas itself derives from the Muslim Brethren, an Egyptian organization. Is it time to think of Gazans as Egyptians?

Egypt worries that Israel may push the Gaza problem onto their shoulders with a unilateral action. The “blockade” that stimulates the complaints in the world news media should force Egypt to assume more and more of the burden of Gaza. Instead, Egyptian border guards shoot first when Palestinians try to cross, a development that gets very little attention. This has been going on for years, and is not a consequence of the Israeli attack on Gaza the past week. The Egyptians do not want Gaza. Still, there might be a way to work this out and it would be a better solution than the present course.

UPDATE: The Fatah people are not supporting Hamas.

“I’m happy to see them eradicated,” he said, blaming Hamas for the carnage and destruction now taking place in Gaza.

Mahmoud as-Shatat, 23, a former student leader for Fatah, agrees. “Hamas consider us infidels,” he said. “They brutalized us, their own people. I have no sympathy for them.


Palestinian refugees

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

There is a civil war going on in the Middle East. No, it is not in Iraq. It is in the Palestinian territories, specifically in Gaza. Fatah members are losing the war to Hamas and they are fleeing. Where can they flee ? Why, to Israel, of course.

Extraordinary developments in Gaza have given a new meaning to the term ‘Palestinian refugees’. As the Jerusalem Post reports, fierce fighting in Gaza between Fatah and Hamas over the weekend, in which 11 people died and dozens more were wounded, resulted in 180 Fatah refugees fleeing from what they called a ‘war of genocide’ by Hamas against Fatah supporters. And where did they flee to? Why, to Israel, of course — which allowed them in and proceeded to treat 23 of them (some of whom were wounded by the Israeli army after they approached the crossing into Israel) in Israeli hospitals.

Have you read about this ? Of course not.


Monday, January 28th, 2008

As long as we are discussing the dhimmitude of certain American institutions, what about this one? The Harvard Middle East Studies Institute produces a factoid that the 800,000 (or 1.5 million) residents of Gaza require 680,000 tonnes of flour per day to survive. So each resident requires almost a half tonne (or a tonne) of flour per day ? What do they do with it ? I thought they were starving. Let’s get our terms right, to begin with. A tonne is a metric ton or equivalent to 2200 pounds, more than an English ton which is 2,000 pounds. The article in the Boston Globe accuses the Israelis of a “stranglehold” on Gaza. With the residents eating all that much flour every day, maybe the Israelis are just worried about obesity.

Although Gaza daily requires 680,000 tons of flour to feed its population, Israel had cut this to 90 tons per day by November 2007, a reduction of 99 percent.

Let’s see. Ninety tons is 180,000 pounds or a quarter of a pound per person per day. Other sources put the average flour consumption at 350 to 450 tonnes per day. Any way you look at, it Harvard is putting out ridiculous propaganda, but then we knew that. The Harvard version is that it takes a ton of flour per day to ward off starvation.