Israel Resource Review 17th March, 2007


Commentary: In the Aftermath of the Palestinian Unity Government
Arlene Kushner

Well, the Palestinian National Council approved the new unity government today, with 83 votes out of 87 council members participating. (There are 132 seats in the legislature, but 41 members are in Israeli prisons.) The 25 members of the cabinet were then sworn in by PA President Abbas.

I have very bad feelings about this and hope that the inherent tension between Hamas and Fatah will surface quickly, and in a major way, to weaken them. There is danger that at some level they are about to achieve their goal of being accepted by the international community.

PA PM Haniyeh declared today that "The government affirms that resistance in all its forms, including popular resistance to occupation, is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people." This means, just for starters, they are declaring that they have the right to commit terrorist acts if we are anywhere outside of the Green Line. That's what they want people to think, at any rate. They actually define our presence here in the land -- anywhere in the land -- as "occupation," since it is "their" land.

The government will be working towards an end to "occupation," rights of the refugees, and (this is my favorite), a halt to Judaization of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is Jewish, you clowns. The northern faction of the Islamic Movement today appealed to the new gov't to make "Jerusalem and al-Aksa mosque" its first priority. The Islamic Movement -- registered in Israel and headed by Israeli Arabs -- is the group that made the biggest furor over the Mughrabi gate construction.

Finland has already voiced approval of the gov't and agreed to resume political and economic relations with the PA. Other countries are not far behind. Britain has called formation of this gov't a "step in the right direction." (I'd love to see someone from the British Foreign Office explain exactly how this is so.) Of course, from Arab countries there is praise.


Abbas today said that the Palestinians hand was "extended" toward Israel in seeking a "comprehensive peace." As the gov't he just swore in calls for terrorism and the return of 4.2 million "refugees" to Israel, this offer does not quite smack of sincerity. Miri Eisen, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, said that Abbas and Haniyeh spoke in two different voices.

MK Effi Eitam (NU/NRP) leveled a similar charge at the Olmert gov't. On the one hand, Olmert says he won't deal with the new unity gov't, but on the other, he says he'll keep talking to Abbas, its president. This position, says Eitam, makes it easier for the international community to recognize the new gov't:

" . . . this delivers a weak message to the world. Israel is closing her eyes to the Hamas government which has disguised itself as a unity government in hope of winning international support. "Israel must cut ties with [Abbas] until all Hamas ministers resign."


From his prison cell in Israel, where he is serving five consecutive life terms, terrorist Marwan Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (one of those 41 who couldn't vote) and greatly respected within Fatah, is calling for all factions and institutions to prepare for a one-million person demonstration to mark the 40th anniversary of "the occupation of Palestine," i.e., the Six Day War of June '67, which resulted in Israel taking Judea & Samaria, Gaza, the Golan, and eastern Jerusalem.

Barghouti wants to "transform this anniversary into an opportunity to renew unanimity in rejecting the occupation and [being] insistent on resistance so as to achieve freedom, independence and right of repatriation."

He's revving the people up -- and he's good at this. Barghouti helped orchestrate the second Intifada, which was supposed to have happened "spontaneously" in 2000 after Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount.

Note his call to the people to be "insistent on resistance." Go for the terrorism, guys.


The additional comments I had promised with regard to the difference between the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and a projected withdrawal from Judea & Samaria:

Gaza, though legitimately part of the Land of Israel, was not broadly perceived that. Unfortunately many had the feeling that it was easier to just leave this region to the Arabs. They had hopes -- in spite of serious warnings by security experts -- that this would promote an improved security situation and increased strength for Israel. Certainly PM Sharon sold it partly on this basis. They were prepared to try.

Well, now we know empirically what happens when we pull out of an area and leave it to the Palestinians. This is not theory any longer -- not one perspective advanced by some security experts. And it is not just a matter of the Kassams that are fired at us regularly: it's the incredible buildup of arms inside of Gaza that speaks of intentions to hit us hard. We know. And so my guess (my prayer?) is that people won't buy it the second time around. Thoughtful, serious, influential people who were willing to give it a try the first time have acknowledged what a mistake the exit from Gaza was.

What is more, vacating Judea & Samaria would create an even greater security risk. We monitor the far border of Gaza by patrolling in the Mediterranean. At the far border of Judea & Samaria is Jordan. Should Jordan be overrun from the east (from Iraq -- not an impossible scenario), our military presence in Judea & Samaria would be critically important. In addition there are high areas, especially, in Samaria, from which shooting down on our population centers and airport would be possible.

Then there is the fact that Judea & Samaria are clearly and incontrovertibly part of the ancient Jewish heritage here and part of the Land of Israel. Eastern Jerusalem and the areas to the east in Judea & Samaria are actually more deeply connected to Jewish heritage than western Jerusalem and many areas west. To sell the idea of relinquishing this would be more difficult.

Lastly, there is the population that would be evacuated (let this all be hypothetical!): In Gush Katif and communities in the north of Gaza there were some 8,000 Jews. In all of Judea & Samaria there are roughly 70,000. Not a simple matter logistically, especially as resistance would be stronger this time around. The colossal failure of the government to provide properly for the 8,000 is a stain upon our record. It has hardened the hearts of many and made them resolve to resist any future moves at forcibly moving Jews out of their homes.

There is the staggering financial cost that would be incurred, and much more importantly, there is the cost to the effectiveness and moral of the IDF. This country learned a bitter lesson regarding inappropriate utilization of our soldiers, which drained the resources and the moral of the IDF. It has been pointed out this may have been one reason for our poor showing in Lebanon.

And so I suggest that while Olmert plans and dreams and talks of doing this, the actualization of unilateral "realignment" would not be a simple matter, and hopefully cannot be achieved. The mere fact that he plans and dreams and talks of this is the stuff of nightmares.


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Israel's Arabs' Support Of Iran Creates Worries
David Bedein

Among the Arab citizens of Israel, who constitute more than 1 million Israeli citizens and more than 15 percent of Israel's population, there is a widespread support for Iran.

This has begun to worry the Israeli security establishment. The GSS, Israel's General Security Service, the Israeli equivalent of the FBI, has warned about an alarming increase of subversive activity on behalf of Iran by Israel's Arab minority.

This past week, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs issued a report entitled "Iran Is Building 'Hamastan' in Gaza", which documents how Iran is establishing a base in nearby Gaza, based on "a growing strategic alliance between Iran and the radical Palestinian forces . . . ".

It has not been forgotten that the PLO, the harbinger of local Arab revolution, was the first sponsor of the successful Iranian revolution. Iran was the first and only Islamic nation ever to hand over an Israeli embassy to the PLO. And Iran now emerges as the greatest champion of Palestinian Arab Islamic nationalism.

Following support shown last summer by the elected officials of the Israeli Arabs members of the Israeli Knesset Parliament for the missile attacks on Israel by Iran's Hezbollah proxy, Israel's security establishment has launched its own investigation of Israel's Arab minority.

Most recently, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with GSS Director Yuval Diskin and other high-ranking security officials concerning the Arab minority in Israel, where the GSS provided a report to the prime minister concerning the continual decline in its identification with the state, the rise of subversive elements within it and the dangers that lie therein. Some high-ranking security officials said that the turn of events within the Arab minority constituted "the real, long-term strategic threat" to the very existence of the state of Israel as a Jewish state.

The GSS reports that there has been a rise in the Israeli Arabs' identification with the Palestinian terrorist organizations, a rise in their identification with Iran, Hezbollah and other groups that reject the legitimacy of the state of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. All of this is done publicly and openly, and has been accompanied by incitement by the local Israeli Arab political leadership. That incitement has not yet been dealt with by Israel's law enforcement community.

The GSS assessment indicates that the separatist and subversive trends that are reflected by the Israeli Arab leadership are liable to set the direction and sweep the masses behind them.

One American organization that provides financial help to the Israeli Arab community to develop itself as a "Palestinian religious and national ethnic community" is the American-based New Israel Fund. The GSS is now looking into the work of the NIF to examine whether this outside organization is an element that encourages subversive activity amongst the Israeli Arab population.

The Fear Factor

Sixty-eight percent of the Jewish population in Israel fears the possibility that Israeli Arabs will begin a popular rebellion, while 63 percent do not enter Arab communities in Israel, according to a new poll issued this week by Haifa University.

Meanwhile, 64.4 percent of Israeli Jewish citizens fear that the Arab citizens endanger national security because of their high birth rate, while 83.1 percent fear Israeli Arab support of the Palestinians' struggle, and 73 percent believe that most of the Arab citizens will be more loyal to the state of Palestine than to the state of Israel.

This appeared in the Philadelphia Bulletin at:

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How the Hamas-led Palestinian Regime will Gain International Legitimacy: By Recognizing Agreements Never Ratified by the PLO
David Bedein

On Thursday, Hamas, formally defined by the U.S. and almost all Western nations as an Islamist terrorist organization, formally assumed the reigns of the provisional government of the Palestinian Authority, without relinquishing its principles.

The expectation is that it will gain full international legitimacy. All this without recognizing Israel or giving up terror.

The question remains: How will that come about?

In the platform of this new Palestinian government, there is a clause which states that the new government, led by Hamas and not by the PLO which had been ruling the Palestinian Authority until now, will not recognize Israel, yet that it will honor all agreements which the PLO ratified with Israel. This recognition carries a double meaning.

Indeed, the Oslo "declaration of principles" denounced violence and was publicly signed by Yassir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993.

However, what received very little press attention was that it was never ratified by the PLO. When the Oslo agreement was brought to a vote by the PLO executive on October 6, 1993, there was no quorum and no ratification, and it was subsequently never ratified by the PLO.

The other agreement that the PLO made with Israel as part of the Oslo Accord involved the absolute PLO obligation to cancel the PLO covenant which calls for the destruction of Israel.

Indeed, the PLO covenant was discussed in two special sessions of the Palestine National Council on April 24, 1996 and on December 14, 1998.

The latter session was in the presence of President Clinton. However, the PLO never canceled its covenant, which remains its charter - to obliterate the state of Israel.

So when the new Palestinian government declares that it will abide by agreements that were ratified by the PLO, that will not include recognition of Israel, denunciation of violence or cancellation of the PLO covenant which calls for Israel's liquidation.

Since the nations of the world and the international press perceive that the PLO agreed to both the "declaration of principles" and the cancellation of the PLO covenant, the Hamas government's recognition of the PLO's previously signed agreements with Israel will be misunderstood as a gesture of reconciliation and progress toward Middle East peace.

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