Saturday, February 25, 2006

Iran, Hamas, and the Threat of Nuclear Holocaust

The front page of the Arabic website of the military wing of Hamas, the Ezzedeen alQassam Brigades, features an animated graphic at the top on the right hand column. It's a black rectangle with a red Star of David. The Jewish star shatters with a nuclear explosion. This graphic is notably missing from the English language website. Only the Jerusalem Post and a few pro-Israel blogs found this particularly newsworthy. Interestingly enough this graphic appeared on the exact same day Iran offered to fund the Hamas-lead Palestinian government.

For those who would dismiss this timing as sheer coincidence it was a little more than a week earlier than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad claimed that Israel would be "removed" by the Palestinians and the Islamic nations of the region if the west didn't remove Israel first. For his part Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal met with Ahmadenijad on February 20 and pledged that Iran will have a major role in Palestine.

Back on 1 January I reported that Israeli intelligence estimates that Iran could have nuclear weapons as soon as next month. At that time I called on the U.S. and NATO to act militarily against Iran. It doesn't take a genius to connect the dots and see that the threat from Iran now comes in two forms: a direct missile strike by Iran or the use of Hamas, which effectively borders Israel, to deliver a nuclear weapon into an Israeli city. How else could Hamas threaten to destroy Israel by nuclear means?

Call me an alarmist if you will but I take all these news stories, together, as rather ominous. The world has waited too long while Iran and its friends in Russia and China stall and drag out the diplomatic process. They will undoubtedly continue to stall as long as possible until an attack on Israel has been successfully completed. The time for either President Bush and/or Prime Minister Olmert to act is now, while they still can.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Correct Response To Hamas

One of CNN's world news headlines today reads: Israel PM rules out Hamas contacts. The implication is that this sort of Israeli action is a bad thing, a deterrent to some sort of illusive peace. Quite the contrary. Prime Minister Olmert correctly states: ...the Palestinian Authority is, in effect, becoming a terrorist authority. Israel will not agree to that. Israel will not compromise with terror and will continue to fight it with all its might. However, we have no intention of harming the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population. Israel will not hold contacts with a government that Hamas is part of -- a small part, big part or a majority.The point he makes is that Hamas is fundamentally different than Fatah and the previous Palestinian government. I don't believe that's true. Fatah is also run by terrorists whose aim is the destruction of Israel. The difference is that Fatah pays lip service to a peace process while attacking Israel while Hamas does not.

Israel's action isn't new and the Prime Minister's statements are actually merely repeating what he has said continually since the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections. It's hardly news, except that it gives certain media outlets an opportunity to paint Israel in a bad light while never once mentioning the thousands of Israeli civilians, both Jewish and Arab, that Hamas terrorists have murdered or maimed. Prime Minister Olmert's statements are also not Israeli unilateral action taken in a vacuum. The United States, the European Union, and Canada have all ruled out contacts with Hamas for precisely the same reason.

The New York Times, for it's part, runs today with the headline
Israel, in Slap at Hamas, Freezes Money for Palestinians
. The United States, Europe, Canada. and Israel have also been united on denying funding to the Hamas led Palestinian government. They have all clearly stated they would do so since Hamas won the election. Yet Israel stands accused of the sin of taking a "slap at Hamas". Neither the New York Times nor CNN found the fact that Israel thwarted an attempted suicide bombing in Jerusalem today newsworthy. Nowhere in their coverage of Hamas is the pledge, found on a Hamas website, to drink Jews' blood. Some of the high points (in translation) as reported by the left-wing Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz:We will hunt you everywhere, when you wake and when you sleep. We are a blood-drinking people and we know that there is no better blood than Jewish blood.
By the life of Allah, we will destroy you. We will blow you up. We will take our revenge on you. We will purify our land of you, pigs, who have defiled our land. By the life of Allah, we will take our vengeance. We are carrying out this operation as harsh revenge against the sons of monkeys and pigs.
CNN, the New York Times, the BBC, and others also consistently neglect to mention is that Israel, the United States, Canada, and the European Union all leave the door to future discussions and even a new peace process open. The conditions placed on Hamas are simple: recognize Israel, renounce violence, and recognize existing agreements between the Palestinians and Israel. This isn't some new anti-Palestinian initiative. These were the same conditions placed on the PLO and Yasser Arafat prior to the Madrid conference and the subsequent Oslo peace agreement. When Arafat sort-of, kind-of indirectly recognized Israel and proclaimed a desire for peace the world stopped treating him like a terrorist and started treating him like a statesman. The same offer is effectively open to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and Palestinian Prime Minister designate Ismail Haniyeh. Mashaal, for his part, repeated his pledge, "we will not recognize Israel".

If the peace process has been alive at all it has been on life support since 2000 when Yasser Arafat abandoned peace talks and started a war of terror against Israel. The Palestinian people shot what was left of the peace process in the head when they elected Hamas terrorists as their leaders. Israelis, for their part, seem poised to elect the far more dovish Ehud Olmert to a full term as Prime Minister by a landslide if polls are to believed. Prime Minister Olmert has promised a unilateral withdrawal from most of the West Bank no matter what the Palestinians do, effectively ending Israeli occupation. Why are the Palestinians still the darlings of some left leaning media outlets and Israel still the pariah? Why is their so little outcry against this blatantly biased reporting?

The response by the west to Hamas is the correct one. It's a pity that some in the media pick and choose their facts to try to get people to reach a different conclusion.

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