Archive for the ‘Hamas’ Category


Special Report: Hamas In Transition | STRATFOR

After more than five years of existing in political stalemate, Hamas is now trying to manage a worsening relationship with Iran and Syria and exploit the political rise of its Islamist parent organization, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Without a clear vision on how to proceed, Hamas is likely to undergo serious internal strains that could raise the potential for a splintering of the heretofore most tightly run organization of the Palestinian territories.
Six years ago, Hamas unexpectedly swept parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories and won the right to form a government. But the idea of a self-professed Islamist militant organization running the Palestinian government did not sit well with Israel and much of the West or with Hamas’ rival, Fatah. Sanctions on Hamas immediately intensified, and a civil war broke out between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas was driven into political isolation after it forcibly took over the Gaza Strip in mid-2007.
Hamas then entered a long period of political stagnation. As a heavily sanctioned political pariah, the group’s financial stresses rose. This provided Iran an opportunity to deepen its financial links with the Hamas regime. Though weapons and supplies still flowed to Gaza, the Egyptian regime of then-President Hosni Mubarak maintained a tight security grip over the Sinai-Gaza border to keep Hamas under control. When Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, Hamas was able to both resist and garner international sympathy, but the two-month operation still dealt a blow to Hamas militarily and did little to ease the group’s political constraints. Apart from a rampant smuggling trade via Gaza tunnels, Hamas had little space to exercise its political authority.
But regional events in 2011 brought about large changes in the challenges and opportunities faced by Hamas. Political demonstrations in Egypt led to the fall of Mubarak. After decades of being repressed by the Mubarak regime, the Egyptian MB entered the political mainstream. Though the military, which remains Egypt’s ultimate authority, wants to keep Hamas confined in Gaza, the MB’s rise has raised international acceptance of Islamists as political players. When Arab unrest reached Syria, Hamas’ refusal to publicly support the regime of President Bashar al Assad cost its exiled politburo its footing with the regime in Damascus; Hamas had to start seeking an alternative base. Meanwhile, as demonstrations continued to spread throughout the Arab world, Iran’s growing assertiveness in the region put the spotlight on Hamas, a Sunni entity, for its substantial ties with the Shiite Islamic Republic.
The group now finds itself at a turning point. Hamas has to balance deteriorating relationships with longtime patrons Iran and Syria, establish a new political vision, identify proper sources of funding and manage growing internal disagreements.

Picking Sides

When al Assad’s Alawite regime began resorting to more violent crackdowns against a growing, Sunni-dominated opposition, Hamas leaders in Damascus, led by politburo chief Khaled Meshaal, had reason to be nervous. Damascus has served as the exiled leadership’s main hub of operations since 2001, and it is the main channel for funding to reach Hamas. When unrest in Syria began, Hamas’ best option was to try to not appear involved in Syria’s internal affairs; the group could not risk its credibility by standing behind an Iranian-backed Alawite regime against Sunni resistance. Because of the overwhelming support in the Arab world for the Sunni-led uprising, Hamas could no longer ignore, as it did in the past, the al Assad regime’s intolerance of its comrades in Syria’s branch of the MB.
In August and September, Syria and Iran tried to pressure Hamas into organizing pro-Assad demonstrations in the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. It was time for Hamas to decide whom it would support. Hamas had two choices: It could follow orders and showcase its close alignment with the Iran and Syria, or it could create some distance from the Iranian-led coalition, use that distance to reinforce its relations with its Sunni Arab neighbors and, most critically, seize the opportunity to follow the MB’s lead out of political isolation.
Hamas chose the latter and refused to stage the demonstrations. The group could not afford to side against a wave of Sunni opposition without absorbing a hit to its legitimacy. Yet beyond the ideological discomfort it was experiencing, Hamas had a bigger vision in mind.

Hamas’ Political Vision

Hamas formally was created in 1987, largely as the result of two factors. First was public dissatisfaction with the secularist and corrupt Fatah-led Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The second was an effort by the MB to respond to the first intifada in a way that allowed it to remain politically insulated. The creation of a separate Gaza group that could engage in armed resistance answered the MB’s dilemma. However, Hamas’ original leadership still viewed militancy as a means to a political end. Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the leader of the MB and of the Islamic Center in Gaza, argued that Hamas was basically a political movement: It would fight for the rights of Palestinians, with the objective of eliminating Israel. The violent means Hamas has used make it highly controversial as a political player, but it is important to note that Hamas has held political ambitions since its inception.
Hamas’ core struggle is over how to proceed along that political path while presiding over a stateless entity — especially when its reputation has been primarily built on militant resistance, not on political credentials. As the organization learned after the 2006 election, even a sweeping political victory in the Palestinian territories yields limited results for an organization widely recognized as the premier Palestinian militant group. In other words, if Hamas was not prepared to abandon its militant arm and change its charter to recognize Israel, it needed to undergo a serious rebranding effort.
That opportunity came with the fall of Mubarak. The spread of unrest provided an opening for Islamist groups throughout the region to raise their political voice and force a wider acceptance of their growing role in the political affairs of the Arab world. The rise of the Egyptian MB in particular created an opening for Hamas to publicly reassert itself as a legitimate political player operating in the same league as its parent organization.
However, Hamas must make several difficult political decisions to achieve such a transition.

Coping with Finances

Hamas is highly secretive about its finances, but it has been unable to fully conceal the financial stress it has experienced over the past several months. It has been widely rumored that Iran began curtailing its monthly payments to Hamas after the group’s refusal to demonstrate on behalf of the Syrian regime. According to multiple sources, Iran had directed $25 million per month to Hamas; to put that in perspective, Hamas’ stated annual budget for administering the Gaza Strip is about $700 million.
In addition to the decline in Iranian financing, Hamas may also have reason to be concerned about the status of its investments in Syria. A number of Hamas members have business partnerships with members of the Syrian business community, including those close to the regime. Though the value of these assets is unknown, much of Syrian investment linked to Hamas is in real estate, resorts, food imports and olive oil exports.
Hamas may also be seeing less income from Islamic charities. Though a significant amount of funding is still likely earmarked for Hamas, a Stratfor source linked to the group said the rise of the MB and other regional Islamist opposition groups has attracted a major influx of money from donors looking to sustain the effects of the Arab Spring, making Hamas a lower priority.
These are not the only sources of Hamas funding. Hamas is believed to make about $50 million per year by taxing trade that runs through the Gaza Strip’s extensive tunnel system. The group also reaps an unknown amount of profits from local businesses in which it holds a significant stake, including the Gaza Strip’s only shopping mall and sea resorts and businesses spread throughout the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Central Asia.
Nonetheless, there are indications that Hamas is experiencing significant financial pain because of its worsening relationship with Iran and Syria. Meshaal and Gaza-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh have been taking tours throughout the region in recent weeks to meet with leaders from Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Hamas has allegedly sought financing from these states to compensate for the drop in Iranian support. Due to the uncertainty faced by the Syrian regime, Meshaal’s faction also has reportedly been gauging these states’ willingness to provide a new base and office space for the group’s exiled leadership.

The Costs and Benefits of a Relationship with Hamas

Hamas can make a compelling offer to these states. With concern growing in the region over how to check Iran’s power, Hamas’ move to distance itself from Iran and its allies in Syria could significantly undermine Tehran’s influence in the Levant region. Additionally, these countries, particularly Egypt and Jordan, see a strategic interest in bringing Hamas closer. They can build leverage with the group — creating another mechanism to balance Israel’s power — but also use that increased influence to keep Hamas in check. However, the strict condition these states are attaching to any deal are giving Hamas pause.
Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey share an interest in keeping Hamas hemmed in Gaza. These states frequently express their support of the principle of Palestinian statehood, but Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in particular are most concerned by the idea of a Palestinian polity emerging that could threaten their national security. Egypt, dealing with an emboldened MB, does not want Hamas to break free of its isolation and meddle in Egyptian affairs. The Egyptian military elite is already on alert for Hamas attempts to instigate a crisis between Egypt and Israel; such a crisis could rally Egyptians and Palestinians alike and provide the Islamist opposition with the means to discredit the military’s authority. In Jordan, where Palestinians constitute a majority of the population, the ethnically distinct Hashemite regime is facing a vociferous opposition led by the Jordanian MB and does not want to embolden its Palestinian population. Saudi Arabia has long had a tense relationship with Hamas and remembers well its past brushes with Palestinian militancy.
Building leverage with a militant group comes with risks. If any of these states agreed to start or increase funding for Hamas or host a Hamas office, they would not want to be held accountable for renegade actions by the group, especially by the United States and Israel. At the same time, they know Hamas is not ready to disarm, recognize Israel and make a full political transition.

Sending Mixed Signals to Tehran

These states also understand that Hamas is unlikely to completely sever its ties with Iran. Beyond the money, weapons and training it has received from Iran and its allies, Hamas needs to maintain a decent working relationship with Iran to avoid creating greater complications for itself in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a much smaller militant outfit than Hamas, has had a tight financial, ideological and logistical relationship with the Islamic Republic since the group’s inception in 1980. PIJ is firmly committed to its militant campaign. The group openly rejects building ties with surrounding Arab states due to their perceived hypocrisy toward Palestinian statehood and the Arab states’ alleged collusion with Israel. PIJ is thus the most likely Palestinian recipient of Iranian aid no longer destined for Hamas. PIJ and Hamas have long cooperated. Hamas is even suspected of occasionally relying on PIJ to carry out attacks, in an effort for Hamas to maintain plausible deniability in dealing with Israel. However, Hamas may have a decreased ability to control PIJ actions within Gaza if Hamas is no longer cooperating closely with PIJ’s main backer, Iran. So long as Hamas controls Gaza, Israel will likely hold Hamas accountable for any attacks that emanate from there. A significant loss of control over militancy in Gaza could thus leave Hamas in a much more precarious position with regard to Israel.
Hamas’ leadership seems to have been sending mixed signals to Tehran — rather than running the risks involved in an outright break — while waiting for agreements to come through with the Arab states. However, these states first want real assurances that Hamas will behave according to their standards and fundamentally shift away from the Iran-Syria axis. Indeed, according to the Palestinian Al Quds daily, Haniyeh was allegedly strongly advised by the leaders of Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait to cancel his upcoming visit to Tehran if Hamas is serious about making a deal. Haniyeh’s arrival in Tehran on Feb. 10, despite the demands of the Arab states, shows that Hamas still feels the need to keep its options open with Iran.
Hamas knows the opportunity the MB’s political elevation presents, but several complications apparently are preventing Hamas from making any clear, hard decisions.
While struggling to balance between Sunni states and Iran, Hamas is also trying to find a way to moderate its political position at home. Ongoing Hamas efforts to reconcile with Fatah and become part of the PLO are designed to insulate Hamas from the drawbacks of ruling Gaza alone. Hamas will not capitulate to Fatah for the sake of reverting to a more comfortable opposition posture. The group wants to share enough power – and present itself in enough of a pragmatic light – to resume financial flows and provide Hamas with some plausible deniability in dealing with Israeli military reprisals against the Gaza Strip.
However, this is placing a lot of pressure on the group. In trying to reintegrate itself with Fatah under the PLO umbrella and reinforce its relations with the surrounding Arab states, Hamas risks developing a crisis in legitimacy among Palestinians. The group already has accomplished little during its time in political office. Should a power-sharing government with Fatah fail to yield results, Hamas could be susceptible to the same criticism levied against its secularist rivals. Money is still sorely lacking in the Gaza Strip, and middle class members of Hamas who are making money are increasingly viewed as corrupt in the Palestinian territories. Hamas does not want to risk being put in the same light as Fatah and thereby seeing its credibility erode among its own supporters.

A Hamas Splintering?

Stresses within Hamas are already beginning to manifest in the form of public spats between the group’s Gaza-based leadership and its exiled leadership over which political course to take with Fatah, how to manage the group’s finances and what terms Hamas should agree to in dealing with foreign backers. Deep, personal rivalries have long existed within these factions, but the strains appear to be turning more severe. This dynamic was most recently illustrated the week of Feb. 6, when Meshaal signed a power-sharing agreement with Fatah leader and Palestinian National Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Doha, Qatar. Haniyeh and his deputy Mahmoud Zahar did not attend the Doha summit, and their parliamentary bloc strongly rejected the deal two days later, citing a clause that said Abbas would remain both president and prime minister in a future government. Haniyeh has since denied any rifts within his movement, but the more Hamas insists on its unity, the more doubts are raised regarding its internal coherence.
Aside from questions about how to reconcile with Fatah, there is also the important question of who will handle Hamas’ finances if the exiled leadership moves from its financial base in Damascus. It appears that Hamas is looking to set up multiple offices in countries that agree to host Hamas and help fund the organization. This could see the exiled leadership spread across Cairo, Amman and possibly Doha. Meshaal, who has Jordanian citizenship, is likely to end up in Amman while Mousa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, has already reportedly moved with his family to Cairo. A scattering of Hamas’ exiled leadership to these capitals may serve to enhance the group’s ties with each of these states and encourage them to increase their funding to Hamas, but it also leaves the group beholden to the interests of multiple states that share a desire to keep the group contained. Moreover, the wider Hamas’ exiled leadership is spread, the more difficult these leaders will find it to coordinate and remain relevant compared to the Gaza-based leadership.

\Special Report: Hamas In Transition | STRATFOR

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Print Edition
Photo by: AP [file]
PA bans Hamas clerics from preaching
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH29/08/2010
Police raid two mosques near Hebron, stopping sermons.
Palestinian Authority security personnel used force to prevent two prominent Hamas figures from delivering sermons during Friday prayers, triggering clashes with worshipers.

The violence erupted after dozens of PA policemen raided two mosques in the Hebron area where Hamas legislators Nayef Rajoub and Muhammad Abu Jhaisheh were supposed to deliver the Friday khutba (sermon).

The clashes prompted the PA to close down the mosques, forcing enraged worshipers to search for alternative prayer sites.

Rajoub, who was minister for Wakf affairs in the Hamas-led unity government with Fatah more than three years ago, said that policemen in plain clothes approached him soon after he entered a mosque in his home village of Dura and warned him not to deliver the sermon.

“When I asked them for a written order, they assaulted me,” he said. “When some of the people inside the mosque tried to intervene, the policemen also beat them, and arrested some of them.”

Rajoub, who was released from an Israeli prison on June 20 after serving a 50-month sentence, accused the PA of waging a “war against mosques and Islam in collusion with Israel.”

Rajoub said that he has been serving as a preacher for nearly 30 years. He added that despite the ban, he would continue to lead Friday prayers and deliver sermons.

“Jewish settlers are torching mosques, the Israeli army is demolishing mosques and the Palestinian Authority is expelling preachers,” he said.

Nayef Rajoub is the brother of Jibril Rajoub, a former PA security commander and one of the prominent leaders of Fatah in the West Bank, who was one of the first to conduct security coordination with Israel. The former security commander is known for his ruthless crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank.

The second incident took place in the village of Idna, also in the Hebron area.

Eyewitnesses said that Palestinian security agents stopped Abu Jhaisheh shortly after he entered a mosque and demanded that he refrain from delivering the sermon.

Last week, Hamas accused the PA of “waging war on Islam and Allah” by arresting and firing hundreds of preachers and imams, closing down mosques and Islamic religious centers and imposing restrictions on religious figures suspected of being affiliated with Hamas.



Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the Fatah-dominated security forces in the West Bank, confirmed that his men had entered the mosques to prevent Rajoub and Abu Jhaisheh from addressing worshipers.

“These mosques don’t belong to Hamas,” he said, denying that the police had beaten anyone.

He also denied that the two mosques had been closed down.

Damiri said that the move against the mosques was taken in light of information suggesting that Hamas was preparing to export its “coup” to the West Bank.

“They are operating on instructions from [Hamas leader] Khaled Mashaal,” he said. “They want to create chaos that would start in the mosques. Their goal is to take over the West Bank.”

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Egypt intercepts shipment of 190 anti-aircraft missiles
By JPOST.COM STAFF
28/08/2010
Authorities uncover large weapons cache hidden in Sinai, reportedly destined for smuggling into Gaza; more ammunition and explosives seized in Rafah.
Egyptian authorities intercepted a shipment of at least 190 anti-aircraft missiles in Sinai probably destined for Gaza on Saturday, Palestinian news Agency Maan reported.

According to the report, the Egyptian police raided several storage areas in the area and discovered the secret cache hidden in a remote region in the center of the peninsula.

RELATED:
IAF targets smuggling tunnels in Gaza
Hamas reopens smuggling tunnels

In addition to the anti-aircraft missiles, rockets and other ammunition were seized, as well as a large supply of illegal drugs.

Reports also stated that authorities raided several locations in Rafah, where they found more stores of explosives and weapons.

Earlier on Saturday Kuwaiti newspaper Alrai reported that Syria’s military is on high alert for an Israeli attack on Hizbullah weapons depots located in the country.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a tough blockade of Gaza since Hamas seized power in June 2007, and the hundreds of tunnels in the Rafah area are the main entry point for many basic items, as well as weapons.

The Gaza-Egypt border sits at the northeastern tip of Sinai.

At the beginning of August, the Israeli Air Force struck a tunnel used to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip as a retaliation for a Kassam rocket fired into Israel which struck near Sderot.

Egypt intercepts shipment of 190 anti-aircraft missiles




Behind the Headlines: The seizure of the Gaza flotilla

31 May 2010
Israeli naval personnel boarded a flotilla of six vessels attempting to violate the maritime blockage on Gaza. Militants onboard attacked them with live fire and light weaponry including guns, knives and clubs. The attack on the Israeli soldiers was premeditated.
Weapons prepared on the Mavi Marmara (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
Weapons prepared on the Mavi Marmara (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)


Overnight (30-31 May), Israeli naval personnel boarded a flotilla of six vessels attempting to violate the maritime blockage on Gaza. Militants onboard the Mavi Marmara attacked Israeli naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including guns, knives and clubs. Seven Israeli soldiers were injured as a result of the extremely violent ambush, two of them seriously while three are in moderate condition. Nine militants aboard the ship were killed. Those vessels that reacted peacefully to the operation were escorted unharmed to Israel, as had happened with previous vessels that tried to violate the maritime blockade.
IDF forces: “We came to speak, they came to fight.”


Weapons recovered on the Mavi Marmaris (Photos: IDF Spokesperson)
Weapons recovered on the Mavi Marmara (Photos: IDF Spokesperson)

Several facts are already clear:
The intent of the militants was violent, the methods they employed were violent, and unfortunately, the result was violent.
The attack on the Israeli soldiers was premeditated. The weapons used had been prepared in advance. Huwaida Arraf, a flotilla organizer, foreshadowed the violence with her statement that: “They [the Israelis] are going to have to forcefully stop us.” Bulent Yildirim, the leader of the IHH, one of the primary organizers of the flotilla, announced just prior to boarding: “We are going to resist and resistance will win.” The militants whipped up the boarding crowd by chanting “Intifada, intifada, intifada!”

Video taken by IDF naval boat shows the passengers of the Mavi Marmara violently attacking IDF soldiers who were trying to board the ship after having sent repeated requests for the boat to change course.
It should be noted that the Turkish organizing group, IHH, has a radical anti-Western orientation. Alongside its humanitarian activities, it supports radical Islamic networks such as Hamas, and at least in the past has supported global jihad elements, such as al-Qaeda.
Israel was justified under international law in acting against the flotilla. A state of armed conflict exists between Israel and the Hamas regime that controls Gaza. Hamas has launched 10,000 rockets against Israeli civilians. At present, it is engaged in smuggling arms and military supplies into Gaza, by land and sea, in order to fortify its positions and continue its attacks.
Under international law, Israel has the right to protect the lives of its civilians from Hamas attacks. Consequently, it has undertaken measures to defend itself, including the imposition of a maritime blockade to curb Hamas rearmament. Israel cannot allow a sea-corridor to open to Gaza, a corridor which would allow weapons and terrorists to freely enter the Strip.
The flotilla organizers made clear that their primary goal was to target the maritime blockage. Greta Berlin, a flotilla spokesperson, told AFT news-agency on 27 May that “this mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it’s about breaking Israel’s siege.” This fact is demonstrated not only by their words, but by their actions. Flotilla organizers turned down repeated Israeli offers to land the vessels in the Israeli port of Ashdod, and to transfer their aid through the existing land crossings, in accordance with established procedures.
Moreover, while the organizers claim to have humanitarian concern for the residents of Gaza they did not have similar concerns for the fate of the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and when asked, refused to make a public call to allow him to be visited in Gaza by the Red Cross.
Under international maritime law, when a maritime blockade is in effect, no vessels – either civilian or enemy – can enter the blockaded area. In line with Israel’s obligations under international law, the ships participating in the protest flotilla were warned time and again that a maritime blockade is in effect off the coast of Gaza.
When it became clear that the protest flotilla intended to violate the blockade despite the repeated warnings, Israeli naval personnel boarded the vessels of the flotilla, and redirected them to Ashdod. Due to the desire to avoid casualties and operational needs, including the large number of vessels participating in the flotilla, it was necessary to undertake measures to enforce the blockade a certain distance from the area of the blockade.
The soldiers who boarded the vessels did not carry arms openly, but were met with a violent ambush. Two soldiers were shot, one was stabbed and others were injured as they were set upon with clubs, knives, axes and heavy objects. They were in mortal danger and had to act accordingly in self-defense.

During a search aboard the maritime vessel Mavi Marmara, IDF forces uncovered a cache of weapons including many knives, slingshots, rocks, smoke bombs, metal rods, improvised sharp metal objects, sticks and clubs, 5KG hammers, firebombs and gas masks in case IDF forces fired riot dispersal means at the activists as they violently attacked the soldiers. These weapons were used against Israeli Navy personnel as they attempted to board the ship.
The flotilla’s cargo was off-loaded in Ashdod and the humanitarian items transferred overland to the Gaza crossings in accordance with standard operating procedures. The participants of the flotilla who need assistance are being treated in Israeli medical facilities. The rest will be subjected to immigration procedures applicable in cases of attempted illegal entry.

* * *

Flotilla leaders stated on Sunday (May 30) that violence was premeditated:

The organizers of the Gaza flotilla announced in advance their intention of using violence against Israeli forces if the latter tried to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza. This intention was expressed in interviews given by the head of the IHH, Bulent Yildirim, to Turkish television stations on the last night of the voyage, as the ships approached the coast. Following are two examples. The interviews can be find in the archive of the IHH website: http://tinyurl.com/IHHViolence

Interview on Turkish Television Channel NTV broadcast on the evening of May 30, 2010:

Interview with Bulent Yildirim, head of IHH
Interviewer: Welcome; we have a small guest as well.
Yildirim.: We’ve now entered the critical hours. What we’re really talking about here is humanitarian aid, and this small child will always remember this journey in the future. The boy’s picture will certainly pique Israeli public opinion.
Interviewer: What makes this voyage so critical?
Yildirim: The reason stems from Israel’s aggressive position, which has unnecessarily inflated the whole matter. We checked out the place that was declared a firing area; their ships are sailing around freely there. They are deceiving the nation and the entire world. This is the first time that a country has ever announced maneuvers without giving prior notification of the exact date. I am sure that Israel is now headed for many problems. They are using their naval fleet against women, children and elderly people. Civil rights organization representatives are here, and the whole world will see what’s happening here. We will definitely resist and we will not allow the Israelis to enter here.
(see the first three minutes of the video)


2. Interview on the Turkish state television channel TRT 1, broadcast the evening of 30 May 2010:



Bulent Yildirim: The Israelis think that the more soldiers they send, the less casualties there will be among the activists. On this ship there are also women and children. The whole world knows this. We’ll show them what is means to board the ship. If Israel wants to board this ship, it will meet strong resistance.
(see min. 96:00 of the video)

Behind the Headlines: The seizure of the Gaza flotilla 31-May-2010

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Bientôt en France des cinémas interdits aux juifs?

Les réalisateurs israéliens ne sont plus les bienvenus dans les salles Utopia. Ils financent leurs films en shekels et forcent leurs acteurs à s’exprimer en hébreu, respectivement devise et langue du régime sioniste.
Mardi 8 Juin 2010

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Utopia, un réseau de salles de cinémaintelligent – au sens où il ne programme que des films susceptibles de faire réfléchir un public qui ne l’est pas moins -, a décidé qu’il n’était plus question de programmer de films israéliens jusqu’à ce que le blocus sur Gaza soit levé.
Anne-Marie Faucon, responsable de l’association gérant ces salles implantées dans une quinzaine de villes en France (dont la Filmothèque de la rue Champollion à Paris), justifie cette initiative de la manière suivante«Notre démarche est un appel à la réflexion et à la liberté. C’est aussi un message aux réalisateurs israéliens, pour les inciter à réfléchir à ce qui se passe dans leur pays. Les cinéastes qui travaillent avec des fonds israéliens cautionnent, dans un sens, la politique de leur pays. »
Non contente d’intégrer, sans prendre cinq minutes pour leur demander leur avis, quelques uns des metteurs en scène les plus intéressants du moment aux services de communication de Tsahal, l’intransigeante distributrice pourrait d’ailleurs, emportée dans son élan, interdire l’accès de ses salles aux spectateurs munis d’un passeport israélien: «Il faut arrêter d’imaginer que les peuples sont impuissants face aux politiques. Les Israéliens votent, ce sont eux qui ont élu un gouvernement d’extrême-droite. Ils sont donc partie prenante de ce qui se passe. Les individus peuvent réagir, c’est d’ailleurs ce que nous faisons en déprogrammant le film. Si tout le monde tire le signal d’alarme, ça peut avoir une incidence. Les peuples ne sont pas impuissants face aux gouvernements ».
Bah, pourquoi pas… L’idée n’est pas si mauvaise et peut-être l’heure est-elle venue d’interdire la publication d’auteurs israéliens, la préparation de plats israéliens, la diffusion de disques israéliens, l’exposition de peintres israéliens, bref, la circulation de tout ce qui peut, de près ou de loin, être relié au régime politique le plus cruel de la planète…
Car Israël est bien, n’est ce pas, le régime le plus cruel de la planète. Enfin, il faut bien qu’il le soit si l’on en est désormais à interdire à ses artistes de s’exprimer au pays de la liberté de conscience. Enfin, en tout cas plus cruel que celui des Américains (ils ont juste envahi l’Irak illégalement, pas de quoi fouetter un chat), des Iraniens (ils n’ont que légèrement massacré et emprisonné les manifestants qui protestaient contre une élection truquée), des Cubains, des Algériens, des Chinois… (insérez ici le régime crapuleux qui vous sied le mieux au teint compte tenu de vos détestations de prédilection).
Toute cinéphile qu’elle soit (vraisemblablement), Anne-Marie Faucon semble avoir oublié de jeter un coup d’œil aux films qu’elle souhaite désormais déprogrammer. Elle aurait pu constater à quel point le cinéma israélien, avec ses Amos Gitai, ses Uri Barbash, ses Ari Folman, ses Avi Mograbi, ses Assi Dayan est cent fois, mille fois plus critique de son contexte politique que ne l’a jamais été le cinéma français.
Si punir les artistes israéliens, avant de punir les simples citoyens israéliens, pour l’absence de vision, de compassion et d’intelligence de leur gouvernants est désormais un moyen de pression légitime («Gare à toi, Netanyahou, l’Utopia de Toulouse ne programmera plus «Valse avec Bachir»! Tu vas voir ce que tu vas voir!»), on se demande s’il ne sera pas bientôt imaginable d’interdire l’accès des cinémas aux juifs tout court – dont l’attachement à Israël est vraisemblablement aussi criminel que le fusil-mitrailleur des commandos arraisonneurs.
Hum, j’arrête-là: on va m’accuser de faire de l’amalgame…
Hugues Serraf
Image de Une: dans une salle de cinéma Desmond Boylan / Reuters




Yalla Peace: Stupid, stupid, stupid 
jpost.com
Yalla Peace: Stupid, stupid, stupid
By RAY HANANIA
01/06/2010

Rather than bring relief to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, all the flotilla brought was death, violence, and int’l condemnation of Israel.

The activists leading the flotilla carrying medicine, food and building supplies to the suffering civilians in the Gaza Strip got exactly what they wanted. The IDF, stained by the indictment of the Goldstone Report, obliged them without hesitation.

Both sides are at fault in this confrontation. The activists are against peace, and want Israel to turn the clock back to 1948, while Israel wants to pretend the Palestinians don’t exist.

The flotilla was a bad idea from the start – not that supplies shouldn’t be brought in, but because the organizers knew full well that the purpose was to embarrass Israel politically. They knew that Israel might attack the convoy, and that’s why they chose to attempt to break the blockade rather than even try to negotiate.

But that’s always been the problem. People like that don’t want negotiations. When Palestinians and Israelis were negotiating, they were opposing the Oslo Accords, doing everything they could to stop them. And they stood by while Hamas, a terrorist organization which is also partly to blame for the suffering of the citizens of the Gaza Strip, used suicide bombings and brainwashed teenagers to kill themselves and to take innocent Israeli civilians with them.

As it stands, nine civilians aboard the flotilla were killed, although that number is not definite.

Israel’s military stormed the ship and for Israelis to claim they didn’t expect violence under those circumstances is ridiculous.

What could and should have been done?

First, the civilians should have negotiated with Israel rather than staging this dramatic PR drive. But Hamas refuses to do so, and the 1.5 million Palestinian civilians living in the Gaza Strip are as much a prisoner of Hamas’s distorted religious oppression as they are of Israel’s blockade.

Negotiation, not confrontation, is the answer. Discussions with Israel would have worked because Israel will never bend to the failed pressures of the Palestinian extremists. The activists who openly denounce Israeli military excesses are silent when it comes to Hamas excesses.

IT IS this hypocrisy that creates such tragedies. The activists have always been willing to have civilians die to make their case against Israel because the Arab world has been a huge failure from the start. The Arab League is a bad joke. It couldn’t argue its way out of a paper bag, but it sure knows how to act after the fact.

Meanwhile, innocent people die, including many of those who joined the flotilla believing, wrongly, that confronting Israel at sea would be the right strategy to break the blockade. But we know history, and confrontations with Israel always end up badly for the Arabs, and even worse for the Palestinians.

The extremists point to the fact that Turkey, Israel’s largest Muslim ally, is breaking off relations with Israel, but the truth is that this shift began long ago.

Rather than bring relief to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the flotilla brought more death and violence. It achieved the international condemnation of Israel it sought, remaining silent when Hamas terrorists attack and murder Israelis.

The Israelis, too, should be ashamed of their policies, which have abandoned moral principles and instead exploit Palestinian extremism. This Israeli practice of using Palestinian extremism to justify excessive brutality is shameful.

Israel claims it wants peace, but the government seems to prefer confrontations, and the oppression of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Let’s face it folks, the people of Europe can scream all they want about Israel’s actions, but until the United States steps up to become a true arbiter of peace, this conflict will continue to rage.

And the activists who knowingly play into the hands of Israel’s military responses are doing nothing to achieve peace.

These activists do not want peace based on compromise, and it is clear this Israeli government does not want peace based on compromise either. Both find it far easier to continue the carnage and spin their stories.

The writer is an award-winning Palestinian columnist. He can be reached at
http://www.YallaPeace.com.
Yalla Peace: Stupid, stupid, stupid

________________________The MasterBlog





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