Israel Resource Review 15th December, 2006


Itamar Eichner and Roni Shaked
Correspondents, Yediot Ahronot

The tens of millions of dollars that Israel managed to prevent the Palestinian prime minister from bringing into the Gaza Strip, are small change compared to the fortune that Iran promised to transfer to Hamas in the coming period.

Declarations made by Ismail Haniya while visiting Tehran and information reported by Hamas indicate that Iran promised to send Hamas no less than a quarter of a billion dollars. Among other things, the Iranians promised to send Hamas monetary aid of USD 100 million in 2007; to pay for 300 vehicles at a cost of USD three million-and to pay USD 1.5 million to repair two Palestinian planes in Jordan.

Furthermore, Iran will pay the salaries of three government ministries for half a year and will pay allowances to prisoners and their families at a cost of USD 45 million; it will give USD 60 million to 100,000 unemployed by means of monthly allowances of USD 100 for every unemployed person for half a year.

In addition, Iran promised to pay for building a cultural center and for offices for top Hamas leaders, in place of the ones that Israel bombed, at a cost of USD 15 million-and to rebuild 2,000 homes that were destroyed at a cost of USD 20 million. The Iranians even promised to buy the olive oil surplus from the territories for USD 5 million, and to send allowances of USD 1.8 million to Palestinian fishermen.

Not only Iran promised monetary aid to Hamas. In the course of his trip, Haniya received other donations, altogether USD 40 million from Qatar and USD 10 million from Sudan. The money that the Hamas prime minister raised comes to USD 300 million.

According to Israel's information, Hamas managed to smuggle more than USD 60 million into the Gaza Strip last year. The "champion of smugglers" is considered to be PA Foreign Minister Mahmoud a-Zahar, who in one trip to the Arab states brought donations of USD 25 million. Interior Minister Said Siam "only" managed to smuggle USD 5 million.

Hamas Spokesman in the Gaza Strip Fawzi Barhoum told Yediot Ahronot, "the money that Haniya brought is meant to pay salaries of state workers and to pay allowances to needy families in advance of the holiday." Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said, "the money is meant to buy missiles aimed against Israel instead of medicine and food for the Palestinians."

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Ben Caspit, journalist from the Maariv newspaper in Israel, holds documentation which Shows that the law office of former American secretary of state James Baker earned tens of millions of dollars from a deal it made with the Iraqi government at the peak of the sanctions that were imposed on Saddam Hussein, according to Israeli businessman Nir Gouaz, who was asked by Baker's office to mediate in the deal.

"I read all the essays about Baker's vision, about the Baker Report, about the man whom the United States placed at the head of the committee that is to decide on the future of the Middle East, and I decided that there is a limit to chutzpah. The time has come to tell the story," Gouaz told Ma'ariv this week, explaining his motives for going public.

Here is the essence of the episode. In August 1998, Jeffrey Stonerock, one of the senior partners at Baker Botts, an American law empire directed by former secretary of state James Baker, which specializes in international law, contacted Gouaz. He asked him to help the company collect a debt of approximately a billion dollars owed by the Iraqi government to the Korean company, Hyundai.

Hyundai carried out a series of enormous infrastructure projects in Iraq for an entire decade in exchange for government bonds to be redeemed on various dates. In the wake of the Gulf War, Iraq suspended payments to suppliers, and its debt to the Korean company threatened to topple it.

In order to evade the international boycott of Iraq, and because he is not an American citizen, Gouaz was chosen to mediate the deal. At Baker's behest, in August 1998 he met with the president of the Bank of Jordan, Shaiker Tawfik Fakoury, who agreed to purchase the Iraqi government bonds in exchange for 30 percent of their value and resell them to the Iraqis at a profit in exchange for oil. For their part, the Iraqis demanded in exchange to raise the quota of oil that they were allowed to export. After several months, and after the quota of oil was raised, the deal got under way.

The Jordanians bought the bonds from Hyundai via Baker's firm for USD 272 million, and sold them to the Iraqis for USD 450 million dollars' worth of oil. In Gouaz's estimation, Baker's law firm received USD 33 million in fees for services rendered. The deal was completed in July 2000.

Jeffrey Stonerock of Baker's firm only responded that : "Your descriptions of our firm's role during the deal are imprecise."

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"Politically correct" Holocaust Denial?
David Bedein

Picture of the writer holding the Abbas PHD:

This week, the Israeli government issued vehement denunciations of the conference convened by the Iranian government in Teheran to promote the denial of the mass murder of the Jews in World War II, in an act of holocaust denial.

However, this reporter asked the spokespeople of the government of Israel if they would also denounce the leader of the Palestinian Authority Machmud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, for the holocaust denial, which has been an integral part of his legacy. No response. Indeed the government of Israel has never issued any such denunciation of Abbas, who wrote his doctorate in 1982 in Moscow, at the Patrice Lumumba Institute for Oriental Studies.

The heading of his doctoral thesis was: "Zionist leadership and the Nazis." The subtitle of the thesis was: "The secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionist movement leadership.", and raised doubts that gas chambers were used to kill the Jews. He argued that the gas chambers were not used to kill people, but only to disinfect them and burn bodies to prevent disease. Abbas' dissertation was adapted into a book and published in Jordan in 1984. It is currently in used in the Palestinian Authority education system, under the direct control of Abbas.

Abbas claimed in his work that the Zionist leadership was interested in convincing the world that a large number of Jews were killed during the war in order to "attain larger gains" after the war and to "divide the booty."

Abbas' primary claim in his thesis is that the Zionist movement and its various branches worked hand in hand with the Nazis against the Jewish people, collaborating with them for the Jews' destruction because the Zionist leaders viewed "Palestine" as the only legitimate place for Jewish immigration.

Despite professing such outrageous views, which he has never publicly retracted, Abu Mazen has nevertheless been hailed by the media and politicians alike.

On May 31st, 2003, two months after Abbas became the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, correspondents from the Israeli media confronted him with his thesis.

This meeting came in the wake of the appeal of two organizations, the Zionist Organization of America and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which pointed out the need for Abu Mazen to make amends for his remarks.

As Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center had written in a May 29,2003 release, "It is time for Prime Minister Abu Mazen to publicly denounce Holocaust Denial to his constituency and to install leaders in Media and Education Ministries who are prepared to teach Palestinian children the truth about their Jewish neighbors."

Yet in that May 31st, 2003 meeting with Israeli reporters, Abbas would not apologize nor retract of the holocaust denial thesis that he had written. Since that time. Abbas has consistently refused to distance himself from his thesis of holocaust denial.

However, the Israeli government is not pushing him to do so. Neither is the American government pushing him to

After all, there are political consideration. The Israeli and American governments are currently involved in negotiation with Abbas. In other words, to deny the holocaust in Teheran is reprehensible. To do so in Ramallah is acceptable

You might call this the first case of "politically correct" holocaust denial.

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Will Baker and Gates Leave Bush with a Defeatist Legacy?
Michael Widlanski | December 15, 2006

As George W. Bush enters his final two years in office, he may be preparing a doctrine of defeatism authored by James Baker and Robert Gates that alienates allies and emboldens enemies.

Three critical decisions meant to forge a national security compromise with Congressional Democrats on Iraq and other Middle Eastern matters may actually dash the Bush Administration's entire Middle East policy and anti-terror stance:

• The resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the principal architect of the conquest of Iraq, who had alienated many Democrats and some Republicans;

• The commissioning of an Iraq Study Group headed by James Baker III, the former Secretary of State, and former Democratic Congressional chairman Lee Hamilton;

• And the appointment of former CIA official Robert Gates as the new Defense Secretary.

"Gates is making excuses for the Iranian nuclear program," exclaimed Dr. Dore Gold, Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations and an expert on Gulf affairs.

"They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons – Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west, and us in the Persian Gulf," asserted Gates. He did not bother to explain that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons scared Saudi Arabia and Egypt much more than Israel's reputed nuclear arsenal. He also did not comment on Egypt's recent advancement of its own nuclear power plant ideas. Gates also did not explain that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are expected to seek their own nuclear weapons, if Iran succeeds in producing them.

Former Ambassador Gold said the views of Baker and Gates illustrated a deep misreading of the current situation in the Middle East, based on anachronistic concepts and shallow analysis. "The central assumption of Baker is that solving the Arab-Israeli conflict is the key to stabilizing the Middle East and achieving peace," but "that was true back in 1990, not now."

"In 1991, the US was the only effective superpower, and it was in a unique position," continued Gold, adding that, today, the Baker-Hamilton proposals would "make the US look like a defeated power." Gold, who heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, continued by stating that "the primary problem in Iraq is not Israel. It's Iran, and, to a large extent, Syria. And rather than sending a message that we need to neutralize the threats of Iran and Syria, the Baker report embraces them."

Most Israeli leaders have icily received the comments of Baker and Gates, who emphasized the need to talk to Iran and Syria, not fight with them. America's Arab and moderate Islamic allies have also been very cold to the Baker-Hamilton-Gates agenda and have criticized it privately.

"As a whole, I reject this report," asserted Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, referring to the findings of the Iraq Study Group (ISG) led by Baker and Hamilton. "I think that the Baker-Hamilton report is not fair and not just, and it contains dangerous articles which undermine the sovereignty of Iraq and its constitution," declared Talabani.

Both Baker and Gates have signaled their view that America needs to withdraw forces from Iraq, while beginning to talk to Iran and Syria, the two countries most hostile to the United States and to Israel, America's strongest ally in the region. But it is not just Israel that is upset by the Baker-Gates approach.

"The Baker report has 79 sections, and it has something for everyone, but its central thrust is problematic for America's allies," observed Professor Eyal Zisser, Director of Middle East Studies at Tel Aviv University. "Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas have opposed America, and now Baker comes along and says those who supported the United States and its policies get nothing, while those who attacked those policies should be courted," continued Dr. Zisser. "The fact is that nobody in the region wants the U.S. to leave, but nobody in the Arab world wants to say that publicly," he said, explaining that a US departure from Iraq would be perceived as a victory for radical Shiite forces—Iran and Hizbullah—as well as extremist Sunni and left-wing forces such as Hamas and Syria.

All four—Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas—are united in opposing the Bush Administration's democratization ideas, and they have worked hard to subvert the government of Fouad Siniora in Lebanon and the regime of Mahmoud Abbas inside the troubled Palestinian Authority.

All four have been involved in continuous terror and weapons smuggling directed against American allies, but Secretary of Defense-designate Gates, during his confirmation hearings last week, could barely summon up harsh words to describe Iranian and Syrian actions. "Iran is already involved in Iraq and, as I suggested earlier to Senator Byrd, could become much more so," asserted Gates forcefully. "The Syrians have not been helpful in Iraq, but could become much more harmful to our effort," declared Gates even more forcefully. Gates offered no proof that the Syrians and Iranians were not already doing as much harm as possible.

Gates, along with Baker and Hamilton, suggested in section 16 of their ISG report that Israel withdraw from the strategic high ground of the Golan Heights in return for Syrian promises of help and good conduct and an American troop presence. In other words, US troops should get out of Iraq because they are being attacked there, but they should move into Syria, which has attacked American troops in the past, forcing an American withdrawal (Beirut in 1983). "In exchange for these actions and in the context of a full and secure peace agreement, the Israelis should return the Golan Heights, with a U.S. security guarantee for Israel that could include an international force on the border, including U.S. troops if requested by both parties."

Another problem with the Golan recommendation is that it flies in the face of an American presidential commitment of support for Israel remaining in the Golan, given by President Gerald Ford on September 1, 1975—a secret side letter given to Israel as part of the interim Israeli disengagement from forward positions near Damascus.

For their parts, Baker and Hamilton preached about the need to "talk to enemies," including those who smuggle weapons and help bomb American troops in Iraq, those assassinating politicians in Lebanon and those shooting rockets into Israeli cities.

"You cannot look at this area of the world and pick and choose among the countries that you're going to deal with," asserted Hamilton. "Everything in the Middle East is connected to everything else," declared Hamilton profoundly, and Baker completed his dot connecting. "And let me just add to that, if I might, that for 40 years, we talked to the Soviet Union, during a time when they were committed to wiping us off the face of the Earth. So you talk to your enemies, not just your friends."

The problem with Baker's closing comment is that it reveals a deep superficiality, a black hole's worth of ignorance about Middle Eastern affairs, American-Soviet affairs, and general history, for several reasons:

• The US and its allies did not negotiate with Hitler's Germany, nor with Imperial Japan.

• The Soviets, who had diplomatic ties with America since 1933, were not interested in "wiping out" the United States, but in inheriting America after the "inevitable" defeat of capitalism by Marxism. That is one of the reasons that the Soviets were generally rather conservative and indirect in their threats on America, using proxies like North Korea and North Vietnam. When Nikita Khrushchev actually threatened America in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin removed him from office.

• Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah have no ties with Israel, and they make it clear that they want to destroy the Jewish state. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyye of the Palestinian Authority, made this clear in his visit to Iran this week. Perhaps Baker, Gates and Hamilton were not watching. | December 15, 2006

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