5 Feb 2009

Palestine: The Ultimate Franchise

By Bruce Riedel
Where will bin Laden turn next? Bruce Riedel examines the complex relationship between Hamas and al Qaeda
Al Qaeda is the first truly global terrorist organisation in history. Over the past 10 years it has carried out acts of catastrophic terror around the world. From New York to New Dehi, al Qaeda and its allies have killed thousands of innocents. Using the internet and mobile phones, it has created franchises throughout the Islamic world and clandestine cells in the Muslim diaspora in Europe and elsewhere to build and deploy a global weapon.

The franchise that Osama bin Laden and his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri would most like to develop is a Palestinian one, preferably in alliance with the Hamas movement.

With its record of resistance to Israel, including dozens of martyrdom attacks, Hamas has more credibility as a Sunni jihadist movement than any other organisation in the region. Hamas has serious reservations about such a relationship, however, as the comments of its late founder and spiritual leader, Sheik Yassin, indicate.

Asked about al Qaeda after his release from prison in 1997, following a botched Mossad assassination attempt in Amman, Yassin responded: "We support and sympathise with any movement which defends the rights of its people to enjoy self governance and independence but we are not prepared to seek an alliance with those movements."

At the same time, there is evidence of operational links between the two groups. In 2004-05 Hamas operatives apparently helped an al Qaeda cell in the Sinai carry out attacks on Israeli and Western targets in the Sharm al-Shaykh and Taba holiday resorts. Upon uncovering these connections, Egypt's intelligence service was furious with Hamas for bringing terrorism to the country's booming tourist centers. Although the extent of these connections is very unclear, some contact is certain, particularly between the military wing of Hamas and al Qaeda.

Nonetheless, Hamas jealously guards its independence from outsiders, well aware of the sorry fate of Palestinian movements that align themselves with Arab patrons and become pawns in the inter-Arab political conflict of the Middle East. Hamas has only developed close relations with Syria and Iran in recent years, out of need for military assistance and increased economic aid. Publicly, most Hamas officials have been careful to distance the organisation from al Qaeda violence, especially outside of Iraq or Afghanistan, and it has joined the electoral process in Palestine with great success.

For its part, al Qaeda has been increasingly critical of Hamas participation in the electoral process and its success in winning a majority in the last Palestinian parliamentary elections. Since Hamas is a descendant of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda has regarded it with suspicion from its birth. Zawahiri is particularly wary of its connection with the Brotherhood, and both he and bin Laden have warned Hamas not to let political power and government jobs seduce it into abandoning or scaling back the jihad against Israel.

Zawahiri had harsh words for Hamas on hearing of its March 2007 agreement to form a national unity government with Fatah, especially as the deal was brokered in Mecca by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Hamas, he sadly claimed, had "fallen into the quagmire of surrender," and the leadership had "sold out" to the king: "The leadership of Hamas has committed an aggression against the rights of the Islamic nation by accepting what it called respecting international agreements [a code word for the Oslo process]."

Extending his condolences to this Islamic nation, Zawahiri emphasized that "nobody, be he Palestinian or not, has the right to relinquish a grain of Palestinian soil." He was particularly upset to hear Hamas had negotiated with Fatah security chief Mohammed Dahlan, whom al Qaeda regards as a spy for Israel and America. In a May 2007 video interview, Zawahiri criticized Hamas yet again, pointing to maps of Palestine illustrating Israel's increasing control over the country from 1948 to today and accusing Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood of doing too little to fight this expansion.

In response, Hamas has denied any moderation in its commitment to the Palestinian cause: "We are a movement of Jihad and of resistance...We in the Hamas movement remain loyal to our positions and dream of dying as martyrs. We assure Dr al-Zawahiri and all those who remain unwavering in their attachment to Palestine that today's Hamas is the same Hamas you have known since its founding."

Since this exchange, Hamas has in fact abandoned the Mecca process and in the three-day war in June 2007 evicted Fatah from Gaza, creating in effect at least a temporary three-state outcome to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. How long this uneasy state of affairs — an Israel with a Fatah West Bank on one side and a Hamas Gaza on the other — will last is unclear.

Interestingly, al Qaeda's criticism of Hamas's flirtation with the political process and acceptance of a truce with Israel reveals some important and fundamental concerns about al Qaeda's long-term sense of its own vulnerability. The Palestinian "cause" is the centerpiece of al Qaeda's narrative about Western Crusaders' aggression against the ummah. The defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 and the creation of the British Mandate in Palestine set in train the events that would lead to the creation of Israel after World War II. For Zawahiri, this has been the West's most evil act, making the "Zionist entity...a foothold for the Crusader invasion of the Islamic world. The Zionist entity is the vanguard of the US campaign to dominate the Islamic Levant. It is a part of an enormous campaign against the Islamic world in which the West, under the leadership of America, has allied with global Zionism."

As Zawahiri argues, "After the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate a wave of psychological defeatism and ideological collapse spread" throughout the Islamic world. This defeatism made possible the Zionist victory in the 1948 war, which Palestinians consider to be the great disaster of their history, the naqba, or catastrophe. For Zawahiri, the issue is profoundly personal as well: he began his career in terror as a junior participant in the 1981 plot to assassinate Anwar Sadat for making peace with Israel.

Thus any sign that the Palestinian movement is turning away from jihad, however tentative, is a concern for al Qaeda. It worries that movement toward a peace agreement will undermine a critical plank of its narrative and alienate it from the ummah. Bin Laden provided two revealing commentaries via al Qaeda's propaganda machine on the 60th anniversary of Israel's creation in May 2008. In one he said to Americans, "The main root of the conflict between our civilisation and your civilisation is the Palestine question. I stress that the Palestine question is my nation's central issue. It was, therefore, a key factor that has, since childhood, provided me and the free 19 men (the 9/11 hijackers) with an overwhelming feeling of the need to punish the Jews and those supporting them. This is why the incidents of September 11th took place."

In the second message on the sixtieth anniversary, bin Laden urged the Muslim world to overthrow the corrupt regimes that have made peace with Israel, especially Egypt, and join in helping the Palestinian struggle, especially in Gaza. He laments again that "the Ottoman state — its big faults notwithstanding — was protecting the ummah from the Crusader Western wolves" until it was betrayed by the Hashemite and Saudi families.

Finally, he even attacks the Shia Hezbollah group for not being tough enough in fighting the Crusaders in Lebanon and accepting a cease-fire with Israel. Al Qaeda has also accused Hezbollah of spreading the false rumor that Israel was really responsible for the 9/11 attacks as part of a secret pact between the Shia and Israel. Only al Qaeda is truly firm in standing clearly against any deal with Israel — everyone else is too soft.

This is an edited extract from The Search for al Qaeda (Brookings Institution Press), by Bruce Riedel.

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Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 15:20

Trying to link Hamas with Al Qaeda is a tasteless distraction. Hamas is the elected government of the Palestinians and their resistance movement. Al Qaeda was formed by the CIA to fight the Russians in Afghanisation and, if we are to believe what we are told, has morphed into a 'terrorist' group which hates the West.
The fact remains, Hamas is fighting Israeli occupation and colonisation and has right on its side:

To quote one Nuremberg judge:
On of the most amazing phenomena of this case which does not lack in startling features is the manner in which the aggressive war conducted by Germany against Russia has been treated by the defense as if it were the other way around. …If it is assumed that some of the resistance units in Russia or members of the population did commit acts which were in themselves unlawful under the rules of war, it would still have to be shown that these acts were not in legitimate defense against wrongs perpetrated upon them by the invader. Under International Law, as in Domestic Law, there can be no reprisal against reprisal. The assassin who is being repulsed by his intended victim may not slay him and then, in turn, plead self defense. (Trial of Otto Ohlendorf and others, Military Tribunal II-A, April 8, 1948)

Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 15:23

Excerpt from above Link clarifying why Hamas and Al Qaeda are very different entities:

"But even more important, though usually ignored, is Israel’s continued illegal and aggressive occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem after the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Indeed, the withdrawal from Gaza was intended to strengthen the hold on the other territories and was accompanied by a greater increase in the number of settlers there than those removed from Gaza.

And the basic fact is that the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are one people, however separated they are by walls and fences and check-points. Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from one part of that people’s land cannot turn that people into aggressors when they resist the illegal occupation of the rest."

Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 16:56

I'm not in lockstep with Bruce Riedel.

But I don't think this extract is arguing there is a similarity between the two at all. I think it shows that Al-Qaeda desperately wants to be the vanguard of all Islamic militant movements and claim every struggle, but it is so removed from most of the people of the Middle East and the politics of these struggles that it failsin attempting to associate itself with them.

I think Al-Qaeda will never have 'The Ultimate Franchise'.

But Riedel is not arguing that this will necessarily happen, only that we must understand this is what drives them, not ‘hating our freedom’, or any of that nonsense.

Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 20:02

Well, I've already sent this response to Rod McGuinness, but now the comments are open I thought it could be posted here:

"What is NM doing publishing an article that would be more at home in
the Australian? Surely the market is already drenched with officials
telling us the dangers of al qaeda bogeymen? If you wanted a spot for talk
on al qaeda, I feel sure you could find a writer prepared to do more than
speculate from start to finish using the fictional representations provided
by our collective governments on what al qaeda wants, and what al qaeda is
doing. It was like reading a treatise on what Santa Claus thinks of the
melting of the polar caps. "

Rod did reply, but the response I received was kind of the predictable (and very disappointing) mainstream media position; 'we should offer lots of alternative views'. To me, such ideas of process smell of BBC so-called 'impartiality' (without, thankfully, the explicit directing of thought) - that's the kind of 'impartiality', we should note, that refuses charity appeals on the basis of 'impartiality'(on a seemingly ad hoc basis). The trouble appears to be that somewhere along the line some journalists seem to decide the holy grail of 'objectivity' means giving up basic senses (logic, compassion, reason) - as though, so long as such rubbish is open to comment its all OK. But propaganda can be insidious. If the MSM tells me what to think about (alqaeda bogeymen) and, turning to 'alternative' sources I find I should be thinking about the same things, then the job is done. I can disagree with the sentiment that I should be scared, but the *seed* is there. It becomes increasingly difficult to dismiss the official bogeyman as a fictional character if all sides disseminate it (despite the abject lack of evidence that any such coherent organisation exists). There is no need for rubbish like Riedel's al qaeda fantasies when there is already more than enough space devoted to such in the mainstream. Or is NM considering the possibility of merging with the mainstream?

As far as I recall, when NM first began, it was to fill a gap in the market that the mainstream *wasn't* covering. Just like SBS (when I was there) - it provided, at first, an alternative, not more of the same. Pilger, I believe, has noted at times when responding to the charge of his 'polemic' argument, that there is no need to describe in depth all sides of all arguments, when one side is busy being disseminated far and wide by the mainstream. 'Balance' is about exactly that. If the Australian, the Courier Mail, the commercial stations and the ABC, the SMH and so forth all put forward the one view on most issues (they do, of course), to be a responsible journalist or journalistic organisation, you don't also put their view *and* another. The 'weights' are already leaning heavily enough without needing to add to that one side. If you're in a car teetering on a cliff face, and a couple of rescuers come along to help, you don't call for one of them to come sit in the front seat with you while the other tries to weigh the car back from the precipice.

I don't come here to read mainstream, government propaganda, but the alternative views. I would think that is (or was) the draw for most others too. Its not offensive to see Bruce Reidel's views on al qaeda (a fictional 'organisation', given all the supposition of what 'they' 'think' in the face of any real evidence or official spokespeople) and how that might relate to a tangible and legitimate political entity like Hamas, were I reading it in the Australian. That I read it here serves no purpose but further dissemination of nonsensical 'seeds' of potentially damaging ideas for the already beleagured people of Palestine.

I sincerely believe that some editorial discretion should be exercised as to what constitutes quality content for the NM site. Otherwise, may I suggest getting a few articles from the UK 'journalist' Melanie Phillips to counter the great content published here by Lowestein and Mustafa (sorry for spelling and eratic use of first and last names there)?

For some evidence of Bruce Riedel's proliferation in the mainstream (on al qaeda and/or his book):






Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 21:26

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts" … Abraham Lincoln

Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 22:01

Derek, just because you are incapable of holding two ideas in your head simultaneously does not mean the rest of us should be punished for your desire to remain wilfully ignorant.

I've never heard of Bruce Riedel before, but the article is interesting. It certainly isn't pro-Israel or anti-Palestinian; it seems merely to be pointing out the bleedingly obvious about Hamas. When did it become verboten to acknowledge reality?

But then you can probably give me ten good reasons why Jemaah Islamiyah is a terrorist group (note: no inverted commas around the word "terrorist") while Hamas are "militants" who are "resisting" "oppression".

Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 23:41

Thanks Rockjaw - that exactly right. If given *the truth*. We don't need whitehouse bogeyman speculation - if we wanted that, we could read Murdoch's papers.

"does not mean the rest of us should be punished for your desire to remain wilfully ignorant."

and then...

"I’ve never heard of Bruce Riedel before"




Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 00:47

Please. GTFU.

Hurling accusations of ignorance is downright hilarious coming from a man who can't even spell the author's name ("Bruce Reidel").

In any case, I suspect even you can differentiate between my willing admission that I was unaware of this particular writer, and your wilful desire to remain ignorant of anything that would challenge your narrow worldview.

Worse still is your effort - which you, incredibly, boast about - to censor opinions that differ from yours. The hypocrisy of your ilk - claiming that you are "progressive" and then trying to suppress views that challenge your own. Disgraceful.

It must take a great deal of effort to sustain such dissonance and hypocrisy on a daily basis.

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 00:50

p.s. I just realised I should have quoted your use of Riedel's name in full and used "sic":

derek: "Its (sic) not offensive to see Bruce Reidel’s (sic) views on al qaeda "

- AC

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 02:33

"Hurling accusations of ignorance is downright hilarious coming from a man who can’t even spell the author’s name ("Bruce Reidel")."

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! You're right - downright hilarious:)

"In any case, I suspect even you can differentiate between my willing admission that I was unaware of this particular writer, and your wilful desire to remain ignorant of anything that would challenge your narrow worldview."

Of course I can't - otherwise I wouldn't have a wilful desire to remain ignorant


"The hypocrisy of your ilk - claiming that you are "progressive" and then trying to suppress views that challenge your own. "

Ctl-f - then type 'progressive'. I bet the only place you find it is in your post claiming I (or any of my 'ilk' - still, most likely, just I) claimed to be it. I supose if you cnt win an argument you can alwys win a speling b...

For the record, on the basis of facts (for example, someone felled two towers in NY in 2001) we can speculate about who did it. On the basis of those speculations we can even have opinions about who or what organisation was the most likely candidate. What I object to is not 'facts' or 'opinions', but telling fairy tales of bogeymen international networks, and peddling them as facts, and *then* speculating on top of that sophistry.

There is no place for this type of 'opinion' anywhere outside of a stephen king novel, but less so in an organisation like NM, which set itself up to *not* be a mainstream news source. Both journalists and editors have a responsibility to do a little investigative journalism (that means making sure you have your facts right by finding them out, not by doing someone else's PR) before posting any old writer's fantasies.

That is a far cry from censorship - its more about quality of information (ie, are we dealing in facts or propaganda?).



ps, I expect a thorough spell check AC - I just don't have the time for it

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 03:36

Right, Derek - it's just that only viewpoints that match yours are good "quality", right?

This is so typical of your ilk. This website publishes dozens if not hundreds of articles of the most absurd bullshit pro-Palestinian propaganda, and all you do is nod your grammar-deficient head. And then a single article is published that points out the openly admitted Islamist radicalism of Hamas, its jihadi goals, its ties to global Islamism, and here you are shrieking that it is low "quality" "fairy tale" "propaganda".

You hypocritical obscurantist.

Alpha Crucis

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 09:01

Upon the dissection of 'big bad Bruce's' latest piece of 'literary genius' I too can't help but be disappointed.

I tend to agree with Derek, most of us come to NM to read about components of a story or issue which aren't exactly the norm but also have merit based on facts which have not been popularised. I'm afraid to say that this piece is quiet mainstream and fox like (maybe a bit harsh).

I'm tired of the same old al-qaeda/islamist scaremongering. Now if that also makes me some kind of "hypocritical obscurantist" so be it.

Stay safe


Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 12:22

The whole of the US/israeli focus is on painting Hamas as a terrorist/terrorist linked organsation, even to the extent of officially naming Hamas, an organisation fighting for freedom from oppression and occupation , the elected leaders of Palestinians, as indeed 'Terrorwists', as termed by the zionist israelis.
The linkages between Shia and Sunni have to be extremely tenuous, it being that they hate each other bitterly, and are very unlikely to co-operate, even to fight the Yanks and Zionists. It just suits the Zionists and the Yanks to completely ignore this, and paint ALL Muslims as Terrorists or 'Terrorwists'.
Even this supposed backing by Iran, a Shia state, must be taken with a grain of salts. Again, US and Zionist propaganda is quite incredibly strong and all-pervading. Truth is very hard to find in all the gumph!
But like the Sri Lankans, it is quite convenient to have the powers that BE, such as the USA, declare a people fighting oppression by a State against their own peoples, to be terrorists, that way you can exterminate them, and the world will sit by and do nothing. All you have to do it make sure that media is excluded, except for the tame ones 'embedded' with the invading and oppressing armies, and you can pretty much do as you like, as the Sri Lankans are proving as we write, and the israelis proved in Gaza. Personal camera phones made a bit of a hole in this blanketing in Gaza, and now the evidence is emerging day by day of mass murder and exterminations of innocent men, women and children by the hundreds by the israelis. All of this will eventually be forgotten though, as the Propaganda mills get into high gear. They have had 60 years of practice in covering up atrocities very successfully, and the mass of peoples prefer to not know about such matters, certainly not to have to think about them.


Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 14:44

Well thank you dazza for parrotting what can only be described as the standard pro-Palestinian line. The fact that is nonsense is probably of no concern to you, but two points:

1. You make a big deal out of the very significant distinction between Sunnis and Shiites, and yet you don't seem to be aware that Hamas and Al Qaeda are both Sunni organisations.

2. Yes, Iran is a Shiite state. But not only is it universally known that Hizbullah and Hamas are two of its proxies, it has also openly admitted this. It boasts of its military support for the two of them.
"Iran admits to financing Hamas, Hizballah" http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3416135,00.html
"Palestinian group Hamas admits that its fighters are trained in Iran" http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3512018.ece
"Hamas wages Iran's proxy war on Israel" http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3512014.ece
"Pro-US Arab countries put pressure on Hamas, Iran" http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1233304675231&pagename=JPost%...
"Ahmedinejad: Iran will support Hamas until collapse of Israel" http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1020630.html
"Egyptian Foreign Minister says Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran cooperate to provoke conflict" http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1059565.html
Hamas leader Meshaal thanks Iran for its support during Gaza conflict: "http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/world/middleeast/03briefs-ATHANKYOUFRO...
"Iran's Hamas strategy: Radical Shiites back radical Sunnis with the aim of destabilizing the Middle East. Anyone who knows anything about the Middle East knows that Sunni and Shiite radicals don't work together -- er, except when they do. Proof that the conventional wisdom is badly wrong is on offer in Gaza, where the manifest destiny of the Islamic Republic of Iran is now unfolding..." http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123128812156759281.html

Shall I go on?

If wilfully ignorant people like Roger and Derek would like to keep themselves in the dark, they can go right ahead. Most of the rest of us would like to read all the facts - and all the opinions - so that we can make up our own minds.

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 15:54

I see the personificatiln of irrelevancy is still posting.
Haven't you all realized yet that dialogue Alpha.. is not possible.

Conflicts are always about the seeking of alliances and to write this article seems a bit like running an obvious line( not with much substance), but should ensure further commissions in more media outlets.

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 19:39

I am all for the legalisation of weed, joseph, but I definitely don't condone writing comments on NM when you are clearly under the influence of it.

Posted Sunday, February 8, 2009 - 16:14

When all the arrest warrants for war crimes committed by Israeli leaders are finally served, I wonder whether the prosecutions will be held in Nuremburg or The Hague?

Does anybody know whether the ICC still applies the death penalty for the sort of war crimes committed by Ohlmert (aka Olmert, Ulmert, Josef Mengele) and Tzipi "Eva Braun" Livni and their band of thugs in Tel Aviv?

Posted Sunday, February 8, 2009 - 20:05

I just wish there was some sort of ICC prison sentence for douchebag antisemites. If only the "ZOGs" could arrange that.

Posted Sunday, February 8, 2009 - 22:02

you have said it all. And you don't even realise it. You have destroyed your position completely, if ever you had one. Even if someone where anti-semitic, which no-one here is, they do not deserve prison.... only fascist states like Israel today, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, and countless non-democratic, tyrannical, thug states like Israel do this in this day and age.
you are hoist on your own petard!

Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 03:33

Ah yes - you got me rosross! On a figure of speech! Oh, the pain! Hand me another petard.

Your incessant Israel-hating drivel, rosross, is just so ridiculous. Recently you even held up the alleged dirtiness of Israel's beaches as an additional reason for your hatred of Israel. Please, for the sake of all of us, give it a rest.

Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 13:44


a savage and sobering cartoon but so right!

Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 13:44

methinks a very cross, 'firstcross' alpha protests too much!

Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 13:45


The Call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid is the call issued by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, which represents a number of major Palestinian civil society organizations and over 60 regional popular committees .

The main goals of the Call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions are:

To support the Palestinian struggle.

To reveal to the world the true nature of Israel’s occupation and apartheid practices.

To give human rights a real value by making Israel accountable and forcing it to pay a price for its crimes.

To reveal and highlight the responsibility of the international community in supporting Israeli crimes that relentlessly violate Human Rights and International Law.

Above all, to end international support for Israeli Apartheid and Occupation, since Apartheid can never survive without external assistance.

Dr Dog
Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 13:46

All witless banter aside alphacrucis, if this article is accurate as you claim and al Qaeda wants to join with Hamas, what do you think the actions of Israel over the past month have done to dissuade Hamas from doing so?

Further to that what do you think of the propensity of oppressed groups to embrace increasingly violent extremism? Would you say that Israel has had a role in the rise of Hamas as an organisation?

Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 13:47

Latest News

Khirbet Tana to be razed, inhabitants expelled
Latest News, Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, February 6th, 2009

The so-called High Court of Justice issued the final decision relating to Khirbet Tana, east of Nablus city, sanctioning the demolition of the village and the expulsion of the entire population.

Khirbet Tana is east of Beit Furik and just west of the Mekhora settlement. The people of the village are primarily shepherds and farmers who established themselves in the area some time ago, and who rely on the nearby springs and shared water wells for their animals and crops. Around 75 families live in the area, residing in older homes as well as in caves. There are approximately 25 residential and agricultural structures in the village


Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 14:09

Dog, it has become very fashionable to blame the victim of late. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, PLO, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and a host of other terrorist outfits have sought and continue to seek Israel's destruction and the slaughter of as many Israeli women and children as possible. Israel is not responsible for the fact that terrorists want to destroy it.

Suggestions to the contrary always remind me of that old line about rape victims - "she was asking for it" or "she was dressed sexy". This is unacceptable, as is blaming Israel simply for defending its own existence.

You ask about whether Israel's actions over the past month have done anything to dissuade Hamas from "joining" Al Qaeda. You are missing the point. Hamas has the same goals as AQ. Israel could exist on 3 square inches of Haifa and Hamas would be seeking to wipe it out. No square inch of so-called "Islamic land" is permitted to be controlled by non-Muslims. This is Hamas. This is AQ. Nothing Israel does has any effect on this sick mindset.

Moreover, you are looking at the wrong timeframe. Why are you choosing to focus on the last month? Since 2005, Gaza was not occupied and the borders were open. There was not a single Israeli permitted in Gaza for the last 3 years. Did this do anything to "dissuade" Hamas? Thousands of military-grade rockets falling on Israeli schools say otherwise.

Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 18:39

You keep repeating that Gaza was not occupied since 2005 as though repetition of the lie will somehow alter the fiction.

The occupation of Gaza has never ended and everybody already knows it well, especially now, after the Gaza massacres, when millions of people across the planet have been converted from passive supporters of Israel to vehement opposers.

Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 19:29

The "occupation" of Gaza ended in 2005. Nobody debates this but you.

And yet the rockets keep coming.

Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 21:21

Rockjaw, give it up. Alpha is delusional. then again, Shimon Peres is delusional. he said the same sort of thing on Dateline. Anyone who believes that moving illegal settlers out of an area and then locking the gates on the electrified fence and keeping people imprisoned in the concentration camp with tanks and guns is the end of an occupation is quite honestly, not sane.
more to the point, anyone who can believe that removing illegal settlers from Gaza and holding it as a prison, while not removing illegal settlers from the rest of Palestine, and holding Palestinians there in prison camps, is anything approximating the end of occupation is so delusional you will never reach them.

Dr Dog
Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - 13:59

Well alphacrucis, the point I was trying to make is that terrorists are made, and Israel is helping make them rather than dissuade them, whichever banner they fight under. When you say I blame the victim I think you are being disingenuous. There really can be no doubt that Israel have placed significant restraints and pressures on Gazans and in that sense Gazans have been victims, at the very least of discrimination, in this scenario.

Say if Palestinians were recognised and made self determining, and their standard of living was improved to the level of the average Israeli, and education was provided.

If that was the world's response to Gaza, do you really think that Hamas would remain the ruling party with a continued policy of wiping out Israel? How did we obtain our supposed high moral stature if not by acheiving a level of material comfort that allows us the leaisure and education needed to contemplate the possibility of better human nature.

This what I was referring to when I say Israel has had a role to play. If Israel continue to keep the Gazans down there is no-where for them to go but toward extremism and violence.

If there is no prospect for change, and you reject the interventions I am talking about then really you are saying, are you not, that the only solution that can satisfy Israel is that all opposing forces be wiped out. Then there is no problem killing Palestinian kids or women because that is the solution you have found to the problem. Indeed it appears the only solution left.

Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 - 13:42

Israel and the world pumped many billions into Gaza over the last 15 years. The ruling party, each and every time, has thieved virtually every penny of it. Corruption is entrenched and Palestinians know it very well, as every opinion poll strikingly proves.

As in other countries, like Syria, Iran and even Egypt, the authoritarian elite rapes the people and blames the Jews. Same story in Gaza and the West Bank. Same story as always.

Posted Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 14:42

"...Israel and the world pumped many billions into Gaza over the last 15 years..." - No, Israel is the recipient of more aid over the past 60 years than all the nations of the world combined. Israel is the world's biggest economic liability.

"...the authoritarian elite rapes the people and blames the Jews. Same story in Gaza and the West Bank..." Do you mean to say there are no Jews involved in the illegal occupation of the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank?

Were there no Jews involved in the massacres in Gaza?