Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ideology fuels terrorism

Poster from a pro-Palestinian film, promoting the notion that "occupation" justifies terror, what Melvin Lee [see below] calls "grievance-based terrorism"

A Barrage Against Israel -Robin Shepherd

Apologists for extremism had long argued that occupation rather than ideology was the "root cause" of terrorism. Terrorism would therefore cease once occupation ended. That argument has now been conclusively defeated. Since Israel withdrew, Palestinian militants have fired more than 4,000 rockets from Gaza at Israeli civilian targets.

The frenzied, rhetorical onslaught against the Jewish state is at best intellectually lazy. At worst it forms part of a hateful agenda that shames those who indulge in it.

The fundamental premise of much scholarly examination and public discourse is that grievances with U.S. policies in the Middle East motivate Islamist terrorism. Such assumptions, though, misunderstand the enemy and its nature. In reality, the conflict is sparked not by grievance but rather by incompatibility between Islamist ideology and the natural rights articulated during the European Enlightenment and incorporated into U.S. political culture.

Acquiescing to political grievances will not alter the fundamental incompatibility between Lockean precepts of tolerance and current interpretations of Islam: Only Islam's fundamental reform will resolve the conflict.
[The Middle East Forum]

Supreme political sarcasm

[Former] Prussian flag

Why not hold an international conference on all displaced populations, many from the post-war, late 1940s? Perhaps it would be best to start with the millions of Germans who were expelled from East Prussia in 1945, or Indians who were uprooted from ancestral homes in what is now Pakistan, or over half-a-million Jews that were ethnically cleansed from Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. Were these refugees ever adequately compensated for lost property and damages? Can they be given promises of the right to return to their ancestral homes under protection of their host countries? The ensuing solutions might shed light on Palestinian aspirations to return to land lost sixty years ago to Israel.

Another international panel could take up the issue of returning territory lost by defeat in war. Ten percent of historic Germany is now part of Poland. The Russians still occupy many of the Kurile Islands, and Greek Cyprus lost sizable territory in 1974 after the invasion by Turkey. The Western Sahara is still annexed by Morocco, while over 15% of disputed Azerbaijan has been controlled by Armenia since 1994. Additionally, all of independent Tibet has been under Chinese occupation since 1951. Surely if some general framework concerning these occupations could first be worked out, the results might then be applied to the much smaller West Bank and Golan Heights.
(National Review)

Hamas' funder clarifies goals

Ahmadinejad: Israel's "Imminent Collapse"

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on the West to acknowledge Israel's "imminent collapse" and to "stop supporting the Zionists, as [their] regime reached its final stage."

"Accept that the life of Zionists will sooner or later come to an end," he said in a televised speech."What we have right now is the last chapter which the Palestinians and regional nations will confront and eventually turn in Palestine's favor," he added.

Iran Purges Moderate Parliament Members -Amir Taheri

Ahmadinejad firmly believes that his brand of Islam stands on the threshold of victory against a corrupt, weak, fat and cowardly West led by a deeply divided U.S.
(New York Post)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tour a Gaza Rocket Factory

For a personal virtual-tour of this Gaza rocket factory,
click on graphic above

A Visit to a Gaza Rocket Factory -Ulrike Putz

Abdul builds bombs for Islamic Jihad. He and his fellow militants can produce up to 100 per night. The rocket factory is housed in a kind of garden shed. Metal pipes with small wings lean against the wall: half-finished Kassam rockets. There are several tightly packed garbage bags on a shelf with "TNT" - the explosive looks like lumpy sugar. A large cauldron is sitting ready on a gas cooker while bags of fertilizer for the rocket fuel are piled up high up against the wall. "We get it in Israel," Abdul says.

Instead of the usual 12, only three of Abdul's men have turned up. "The other guys are over in Egypt, shopping," he says. Will they be looking for ingredients for building rockets? "Hardly....We have enough raw materials to last for a few years."
(Der Spiegel-Germany)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Abbas mourns terror sleaze

Abbas Honors Terrorist Leader -Editorial

George Habash who died this week, had "earned a reputation for spectacular international attacks in the 1960s and 1970s, including airline hijackings that killed at least 20 U.S. citizens," [according to] The State Department's annual terrorism report.

PA head Mahmoud Abbas decided to honor the memory of Habash, who rejected the Oslo accords and never disavowed violence or reconciled himself to Israel's existence, by ordering flags in the PA to be flown at half mast for three days.

How is it that Habash, several years into the so-called Global War on Terrorism, died of apparently natural causes at age 82 in Jordan, often considered an American ally in the war? He belonged in prison - or on the gallows.
(New York Sun)

Palestinian propaganda floats to the top

Gaza Buried in Flour -Martin Kramer

The Boston Globe ran an op-ed under the headline "Ending the Stranglehold on Gaza" by Eyad al-Sarraj of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program and Sara Roy, a scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. The op-ed included the sentence: "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%."

If Gaza has a population of 1.5 million, as the authors also note, then 680,000 tons of flour a day come out to almost half a ton of flour per Gazan, per day. A typographical error? Hardly. The authors copied it from an article in the Al-Ahram Weekly from last November.

Note how an absurd and impossible "statistic" has made its way up the media feeding chain. It begins in an Egyptian newspaper, is cycled through a Palestinian activist, is submitted under the shared byline of a Harvard "research scholar," and finally appears in the Boston Globe, whose editors apparently can't do basic math.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ringo & Paul to play for Israel's 60th?

Israel offers belated apology to Beatles

After a delay of 43 years the State of Israel officially apologized to the Beatles for retracting an invitation to perform in the Jewish state in 1965.

Israel's ambassador to Great Britain is scheduled to present an official apology letter, including an invitation to remaining band members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to perform during the celebrations of 60 years of Independence of the State of Israel.

"We are happy to invite you to perform in Israel's independence celebrations and to fix a historical mistake from 1965 which prevented [Israeli] audiences from seeing a band which influenced a whole generation," the letter says.

[T]he reason for canceling the Beatles' show [in 1965] was economical: there was no justification [for] investing in a performance by a band they considered to be of low artistic standards.
[Jerusalem Post]

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hamas hoax: "Pallywood" returns

Palestinian journalists: Hamas staged blackouts -Khaled Abu Toameh

Hamas staged scenes of darkness as part of its campaign to end the sanctions against the Gaza Strip, Palestinian journalists said.

Hamas legislators sat in front of burning candles, [b]ut some journalists noticed that there was actually no need for the candles because both meetings were being held in daylight.

"They had closed the curtains in the rooms to create the impression that Hamas leaders were also suffering as a result of the power stoppage," one journalist [said].
[Jerusalem Post]

Friday, January 25, 2008

More reflections on Gaza

A Palestinian smiles as he returns to Gaza with his new motorcycle, bought in Egypt, at the border between Egypt and Gaza, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, Jan. 25, 2008.
(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Poverty-Stricken Gazans Spent $130 Million in Egypt in Two Days

Rami Abdou, an economic analyst, estimated that Gazans spent $130 million in less than two days, a princely sum for the poverty-stricken territory.

A Farewell to Gaza? -Editorial

What some see as a problem may also be an opportunity because it could be a first step in getting the world to perceive that many residents of Gaza are Egyptians rather than Palestinians. They'd rather be in Egypt than in Gaza, as they showed by voting with their feet these past days. They speak Egyptian Arabic. They have closer family ties to Egypt than they do to the West Bank, where many of them have never visited.

Rather than forcing the Gazan Arabs to join with the West Bank Arabs into a state of "Palestine" that has never existed, why not let Gaza revert to its pre-1967 status as part of Egypt? Egypt, at least, is a country with which Israel has a peace treaty and diplomatic relations.

If the plan of letting Gaza merge into Egypt works, it could be a model for allowing Jordan, another country with which Israel has a treaty of peace, to accept responsibility for parts of the West Bank. In the crisis along the Egypt-Gaza border could lie the seeds of a just resolution to the so-called Palestinian question.
(New York Sun)

Gaza into Egypt -Martin Kramer

There were 350,000 Palestinians in Gaza in 1967. Now there are 1.3 million, who are pushing against the envelope of Gaza's narrow borders with growing force. Israel has the power and the resolve to push back. Egypt just doesn't, which is why the envelope burst where it did.
(Middle East Strategy at Harvard)

Israel's Choices in the Face of Rocket Attacks -Con Coughlin

Given that the Palestinians are in no position to rein in Hamas' excesses, it seems almost inevitable that it will fall to Israel to deal with the existential threat the terror group poses. To make peace in the Middle East, it is often necessary first to make war.

Deep Inside the Plucky Country -Greg Sheridan

Israel is constantly urged to go back to its 1967 borders, but the two places where it has done that, in southern Lebanon and Gaza, the result has been disastrous. It was subject to thousands of rocket attacks from southern Lebanon and now every day Kassam rockets are fired from Gaza at nearby Israeli civilian towns, especially Sderot.
(The Australian)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Reflections: Breaching the Gaza-Egypt Border

Hamas Spent Months Cutting through Gaza Wall -James Hider

Hamas had been involved for months in slicing through the heavy metal wall along the Gaza-Egypt border using oxy-acetylene cutting torches. That meant that when the explosive charges were set off in 17 different locations, the 40-foot [border] wall came tumbling down.

Breached Gaza-Egypt Border a "First-Class Security Risk" -Hanan Greenberg

IDF officials on Wednesday described the situation at the breached Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt as "a first-class security risk." According to a military source, "The free passage of Palestinians into Egypt and back significantly increases the security threat coming from Gaza."
(Ynet News)

Israel Wants to Sever Connections with Gaza

Israel would like to sever its remaining connections with Gaza. "We need to understand that when Gaza is open to the other side we lose responsibility for it. So we want to disconnect from it," Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Army Radio.

Will Responsibility for Gaza Shift to Egypt? -Benny Avni

Some Israeli officials saw an "opportunity" in the flow of hundreds of thousands of Gazans into Egypt, suggesting that responsibility for Gaza's humanitarian situation should be shifted to Egypt.

"If Egypt and international welfare organizations are so concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, why don't they just reroute the deliveries? They can send food and necessities to Egypt, and then deliver them to Gaza through the Rafah crossing," an Israeli official said.
(New York Sun)

Proving the Egyptian Alternative -Yaakov Katz

Egypt helped Israel to complete its disengagement from Gaza. Egypt's decision to open the Rafah crossing to the Palestinians proved to the world that Egypt is perfectly capable of caring for the Palestinians when it comes to food and medical care. "By going into Egypt, Hamas loses its claim that it is under siege by Israel," said a senior Israeli defense official.
(Jerusalem Post)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Livni gets assertive

We Will Defend Our Citizens - Even at the Price of Condemnation
-Roni Sofer

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told the Herzliya Conference: "Israel should not have to apologize for its existence and it will continue to defend the lives of its citizens, even at the price of condemnation....It is inconceivable for Palestinians to fire rockets on Israel and then ask for our help."
(Ynet News)

Israel leads...

Israel Is Set to Promote the Use of Electric Cars -Steven Erlanger

The Israeli government has announced its support for a broad effort to promote the use of electric cars, embracing a joint venture between an American-Israeli entrepreneur and Renault and its partner, Nissan Motor Company.

The state will offer tax incentives to purchasers, and the new company, with a $200 million investment to start, will begin construction of facilities to recharge the cars and replace empty batteries quickly.
(New York Times)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hamas plays victim while firing rockets; Abbas defends Hamas

Israel: Hamas Pretending There Is a Crisis -Ali Waked

"There is no power crisis in Gaza. Apparently Hamas, out of its own considerations, has decided not to transfer fuel to the power station," said a security official in Jerusalem.

Israel also rejected the claim that there was a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, saying that Palestinian liaisons have said that there are sufficient stockpiles of food and water. "Hamas is trying to exaggerate the problem and make it seem as though there is a humanitarian crisis. There is no truth to this."

Minutes after the Gaza power station shut down, Gaza residents holding candles began marching [see photo above] through the city's streets along with Palestinian children holding signs in English and Arabic.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel to lift the siege it is imposing on the Gaza Strip and renew the supply of fuel to the Hamas-controlled coastal territory "to prevent an humanitarian disaster."
(Ynet News)

Lights Out in Gaza City -Nidal al-Mughrabi

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel questioned whether the complete shutdown of the generating plant was necessary, suggesting Hamas Islamists had a political interest in exaggerating the impact of the Israeli measures. Palestinian militants have attacked border towns in Israel in the past week with some 230 rockets.
(Reuters/Washington Post)


Lights On, Nobody Home
Once again, the mainstream media has wittingly or unwittingly fallen into the Hamas trap. By plunging Gaza into darkness, the terrorist organization has managed to shift the story away from its own responsibility for the Qassams and terror on Sderot. Instead, Israel's image is taking a beating for a perceived humanitarian crisis of Hamas's own making.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bush policy shift: Israel in "tighter spot"

Reading America right -Barbara Sofer

Largely brushed aside was the president's call to end "the occupation" that began in 1967. [T]his word choice by an American president instead of "disputed territories" was anything but casual. "Occupation," ambassador Dore Gold, now president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has often pointed out, is an accusation.

The term creates a political context to justify Palestinian violence and delegitimizes the Jewish historical attachment to the land. This not-so-subtle hardening of American policy is a call for greater flexibility from Israel. We're in a tighter spot than we were before the visit.
[Jerusalem Post]

Stopping Palestinian rockets

Only a Military Operation Will Stop Rocket Fire -Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror

There are only two ways to stop the rocket barrages on Sderot and Ashkelon. One is to negotiate with Hamas and reach a cease-fire. However, this would mean that Israel could not act against Hamas, which will be free to prepare for the next war at a time when it feels ready.

The second way is a military operation like Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank in 2002 - meaning Israel reconquers all those areas that are important to control. The area of Gaza used for firing rockets on Sderot is not particularly large and the threat can be neutralized in a few days.

Such an operation would not only prevent rocket fire on Sderot, but also would prevent the continued strengthening of Hamas. Nevertheless, the price to be paid during such an operation will not be small, nor can it even be predicted.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Wedding: Palestinian style

Two Palestinians Killed by Weapons Misuse

The Gaza police said that Hamza Al-Arqan was killed and his brother was injured when gunmen were shooting into the air during a wedding party in the Shujaiyya neighborhood in Gaza City.
(Maan News-PA)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Desperate for jihad, not peace

Are Palestinians as Desperate as the West for Peace? -Barry Rubin

[A]ren't the Palestinians desperate for a solution, given all their suffering? The answer is no. The ideology of extremist nationalism and Islamism, the belief that total victory is possible, the miscomprehension of Israel and suspicion of the West are all still in place.

Indeed, who acts as if they desperately need a diplomatic solution right away and will pay anything to get it? Not the Palestinians or the Arab states, but the West and the U.S.
(Jerusalem Post)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Terror convictions

Ex-Leaders of Islamic Charity Convicted -Dan Eggen

Three former leaders of an Islamic charity were convicted on federal tax and fraud charges in Boston Friday for using tax exemptions to hide support for religious militants and terrorists overseas. The defunct group, Care International Inc., described itself as a charity for Muslim refugees, widows and orphans.

Prosecutors presented evidence alleging that the group obtained tax deductible donations to support "mujahadeen" fighters overseas. Officials said the defendants could face 10 to 19 years in prison.
(Washington Post)

Prosecuting Terrorism -Matthew Levitt

Coming on the heals of partial convictions and hung juries in other recent cases, this case highlights the strategic utility of charging terrorists and their supporters for ordinary criminal activities that the government can easily prosecute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bush joins Rice in adopting Palestinian narrative

Bush Promotes Palestinian "Right of Return" -Daniel Pipes

[The] "right of return" emerged as a motif before and during George W. Bush's recent trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, when he mentioned it three times publicly...

This is only one of several problematic statements from the Bush administration, such as the president's morally equivalent reference to "terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis" or Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's calling the Arab-Israeli conflict the central issue of the Middle East and seeing Palestinians as analogous to Southern blacks.

[H]e is the only U.S. president to promote a "Palestine" and now a Palestinian "right of return."

I see a possible crisis in U.S.-Israel relations of unprecedented proportions. I am not predicting this will happen but noting that the pieces are all in place for such a development.

Although Bush is "seen by many Israelis as the best friend the Jewish state has had in the White House," I have long doubted that characterization, and now more so than ever.

Don't call us, we'll call you

Moshe Dayan had a secret meeting in Morocco

First, Enemies Must Agree -Uri Dromi

The Camp David summit in 1978 could not have happened if Moshe Dayan had not flown secretly to Morocco in 1976 to meet with Egyptian Foreign Minister Hassan al-Tohami. Following the understanding reached between the two, Egyptian President Sadat made his historic visit to Jerusalem a year later. President Carter's impact later, at Camp David, was only possible once the Egyptians and the Israelis had decided to make peace.

The Americans didn't have any role at the start of the Oslo peace process, which only happened after Israelis and Palestinians had secretly met. Later, at Camp David in 2000, Clinton strove to broker a final settlement of the conflict, but failed because the Palestinians, led by Yasser Arafat, weren't ready for the deal.

So, in the wake of Bush's visit, both Palestinians and Israelis should go back to the arduous task of making peace between our peoples. When we're ready, we should call the Americans to join the ceremony.

(Miami Herald)

Carving Jerusalem

Capture of Jerusalem as Precursor to Fall of West -Melanie Phillips

Yasir Arafat understood that while Jews would unite against conventional attack, they wouldn't cope [well] with the psychological pressure of being turned into international pariahs through a falsified colonial narrative of oppression.

Olmert insists that Mahmoud Abbas accepts Israel as a Jewish state "in his soul." Olmert clearly possesses truly wondrous psychic powers.

The West believes that dividing Jerusalem is the fairest solution. But when were aggressors ever thus rewarded at the expense of their victims? Israel [should] remind the world of [the] world's [own] conclusion back in 1920 that the Jews had a unique claim to the entire land of Israel, including Jerusalem.

The Islamic claim to Jerusalem is not so much religious as political. [S]ince the capture of Jerusalem is seen as the precursor to the fall of the entire West, the division of the city would recruit untold additional numbers to the global jihad.
(Jewish Chronicle-UK)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ms. outrages Jewish community

Ms. Magazine Rejects Ad Featuring Israeli Women -E.B. Solomont

Jewish leaders are reeling after what they say was a decision by Ms. magazine to refuse to accept a full-page advertisement featuring three prominent Israeli women. The advertisement, submitted by the American Jewish Congress, featured photographs of the president of the Israeli Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch; Israel's foreign minister, Tzipi Livni; and the speaker of the Knesset, Dalia Itzik. Underneath the photographs, the advertisement included the text, "This is Israel."

Officials from the American Jewish Congress said they were shocked by the magazine's decision, which they said amounted to anti-Israel sentiment. As news of the incident was publicized, Jewish leaders condemned the magazine's actions.

[A] representative from [Ms.] magazine told Harriet Kurlander [American Jewish Congress] the advertisement was too controversial and was likely to "cause a lot of opposition." "If we print the ad, it will create a firestorm," Ms. Kurlander recalled being told.
(New York Sun)

'Ms.' magazine causes furor -Haviv Rettig
Feminist Jewish activists are preparing a campaign targeted at the quarterly Ms. magazine after it refused to run an ad featuring Israeli women because it was "too controversial."

"[T]his is an act of utter bigotry," said Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz. "It's pure and simple anti-Israel discrimination. They've run many controversial ads and stories. And they will never stick to this standard in the future or they'll be bankrupted. This is a standard invented for Israel. Ms. magazine has become the United Nations of magazines."

"The ad has to run," he continued, "and there should be stories about the ad not running, and finally, whoever made decision [not to run the ad] must be fired."

Dershowitz also vowed "to start a campaign of leading feminists to critique and disassociate themselves from so bigoted a magazine. No legitimate person today can support Ms. magazine while it has this policy."
[Jerusalem Post]

The heart and soul

Jerusalem Must Not Be Severed from Israel -Aron U. Raskas

It is important to consider the dangers that would arise from placing large segments of the city, including Christian holy sites, under the control of the Palestinian Authority. After centuries of strife, the State of Israel alone has been able to preserve the peace and freedom of Jerusalem.

Most of the desecrations of Jewish and Christian holy sites in the Palestinian territories have occurred under the rule of the Fatah party, to which many suggest that parts of Jerusalem should now be ceded. Hamas' ascent to power adds a growing, and thus troubling, Islamic component to any analysis of the fate of Jerusalem's holy sites under Palestinian rule.

There is little doubt that ceding even a portion of Jerusalem to Palestinian control would strengthen the role of such radicals, much as Israel's retreat from Lebanon and evacuation of Gaza brought Hizbullah and Hamas to prominence. Western leaders must do all in their power to avoid being enshrined in history as the ones responsible for bringing to Jerusalem the Islamic regime that destroyed Judaism's and Christianity's holiest sites.
(National Review)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Living on the edge

Life on Alert in an Israeli Town -Steven Erlanger

Sderot, a working-class Israeli town less than two miles from Gaza, has been hit over the past four years with some 2,000 rockets of improving range and explosive power - 22 in the last eight days. Eight Sderot civilians have been killed by the rockets.

The people of Sderot live in a most un-Israeli hush, so they can hear the rocket alerts. People keep their car windows open and their radios and televisions on low volume. They take quick showers, no longer sleep in upstairs bedrooms, and avoid public places at what are considered peak rocket times.
(New York Times)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Olmert caves: circumvents road map demand that Palestinians fight terror

Olmert and Abbas to start negotiations on core issues -Gil Hoffman

Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will be instructed to start talking about core issues such as Jerusalem, the refugees and the contours of a future Palestinian state, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decided after a meeting in Jerusalem.

Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced earlier this week that he would quit the government and pull Israel Beiteinu out of the coalition if core issues were put on the negotiating table. Likud called on Israel Beiteinu and Shas to quit the coalition following the new development.
[Jerusalem Post]

Friday, January 04, 2008

Oil's price

The Powers of Petrocracy -Fouad Ajami

Oil is the dictators' dream and their weapon, their means of escape from accountability and from the limits societies have drawn for rulers. The great democratic wave of the last quarter century has bypassed oil lands.

Oil underpins the Iranian dictatorship, frees it from the scrutiny of the bazaar...

With oil wealth, the tiny principality of Qatar has launched and sustained a television channel, Al Jazeera, that gives this small land a voice way beyond its demography and weight in the balance of nations. Right next door in Saudi Arabia, an antimodernist ban on women driving cars persists because oil grants that society waiver from the imperatives of economic rationality.
(U.S. News)

Circling [media] vultures

Study: Israel's Image Hurt Since Gaza Pullout -Etgar Lefkovits

Israel's image in the international media deteriorated after the pullout from Gaza, despite Israeli expectations that the withdrawal would boost support for its policies, according to a Hebrew University study.

Researchers found that Israel was represented in a more negative light in both U.S. and UK media after the 2005 Gaza withdrawal, compared to the period that preceded it, and that the improvement in Israel's image occurred only during the disengagement itself. We "found that the demands from Israel for territorial concessions in the territories not only were not lessened following the disengagement, but actually became stronger," said Hebrew University political scientist Dr. Tamir Sheafer.
(Jerusalem Post)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The price of a cease-fire

Cease-Fire with Hamas in Gaza Is No Solution -Ely Karmon

Israel's acceptance of a cease-fire would constitute a strategic victory for Hamas and its allies. Hamas would quickly receive international legitimacy, establish its economic and political control through the generous assistance of the international community, and be able to develop a deterrent military capability vis-a-vis Israel through massive arms smuggling across the Egyptian border.

In a year or two, an extremist state, allied with Iran, Syria and Hizbullah, will emerge on Israel's southern border, with a good chance of taking over the West Bank and affecting the stability of Jordan, Egypt, and possibly also the Islamic movement in Israel.

The writer is a senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Inter-Disciplinary Center, Herzliya.

Arafat lives

After Annapolis -Efraim Karsh

Arafat and Abu Mazen are warp and woof of the same fabric: dogmatic PLO veterans who have never eschewed their commitment to Israel's destruction and who have viewed the "peace process" as the continuation of their lifetime war by other means.

In reality, there is no fundamental difference between the goals of Hamas and the PLO vis-a-vis Israel: Neither accepts the Jewish state's right to exist and both are committed to its destruction.

To deny the depth of the PLO's commitment to Israel's destruction is the height of folly, and to imagine that it can be appeased through Israeli concessions is to play into its hands. Only when Palestinians reconcile themselves to the existence of the Jewish state and eschew their genocidal hopes will the inhabitants of the Holy Land, and the rest of the world, be able to look forward to a future less burdened by Arafats and their gory dreams.

Professor Efraim Karsh is Head of Mediterranean Studies at King's College, University of London.

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)