Hamas, Fatah

Hamas and Qassam Rockets

Because Hamas is never objectively covered in the West: Maan reports that Hamas

has actively prevented armed groups from launching shells from Gaza into Israel over the past few days, the London-based newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat’s Arabic website quoted sources in the resistance groups in Gaza saying, “Hamas security services have detained two militants while they were preparing to fire homemade projectiles towards Israel. They were questioned and released after a couple of hours.”


Hamas security confiscated the projectiles and warned the militants of carrying out new attempts, the sources added. Hamas has also prevented major factions like the Islamic Jihad from launching attacks, according to the sources.

One suspects Israel will lie about this period, just like its propagandists lied about the ceasefire in 2008. In July this year, even the NYT reported that Hamas had stopped firing rockets and was focussing on public diplomacy. Of course, Hamas is completely inept at this, but that’s another story. According to Haaretz, there was one rocket in July, and another in June.

Abbas: No Allegation too shocking to be unrealistic

On Finkelstein’s website, posted from Maariv (which is Hebrew), from an article by Amit Cohen.

Ma’ariv (p. 5) by Amit Cohen et al. — A Palestinian press agency claims that the surprising decision by Palestinian Authority officials to postpone the discussion of the Goldstone report in the UN Human Rights Council is the result of an Israeli threat. According to a report by Shihab, the Palestinian Authority refused Israel’s demand that it withdraw its support for the harsh report, which Israel considered one-sided. Following this, Israeli figures showed the PA a series of tapes in which Palestinian Authority officials could be heard urging Israel to continue the operation in Gaza. Israel threatened to reveal the material to media outlets as well as to the UN and this, in turn, resulted in the Palestinian retreat. It was further claimed that the Palestinians were shown footage showing a meeting between Abu Mazen, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and then foreign minister Tzippi Livni. In the course of the meeting, according to the report, Abu Mazen attempted to convince Barak to continue the operation. Barak appeared hesitant whereas Abu Mazen was enthusiastic. In addition, a telephone conversation recording between Abed Al-Rahim, secretary general of the Palestinian Authority and director of Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi’s bureau was presented. The Palestinian senior official can be heard saying that now is the time to bring ground forces into the Jabalya and Shati refugee camps. “The fall of these two camps will bring about the fall of the Hamas regime in Gaza, and will cause them to wave a white flag,” says Abed Al-Rahim. According to the report, Dov Weissglas told Abed Al-Rahim that such a move could result in the deaths of thousands of civilians. “They all voted for Hamas,” says Abed Al-Rahim, “they chose their fate, not us.” Following Hamas’s allegations against him, Abu Mazen ordered the establishment of an investigative committee to examine the cause for the postponement of the discussion of the Goldstone report, which sparked a furor and much criticism in the Palestinian street. Officially, Israel argues that Abu Mazen withdrew his request for the discussion as a result of Netanyahu making it clear that such a move would greatly harm the peace process. Moreover, Israel prefers to keep quiet since it has no desire to harm Abu Mazen any more than he has already been harmed and thus play into Hamas’s hands. “Abu Mazen did the correct thing on his part,” says a political source. “Had he insisted on pushing through the proposal, he would have badly harmed the peace process.” In addition, the Palestinian Authority has attempted over the last year to establish an additional cellular network in the West Bank—Wataniya, to be directed by Abu Mazen’s son. “The IDF had opposed the new cellular network, claiming that this would clash with its frequencies, and it was proposed to the Palestinians the minimum frequency allocation, which the Palestinians did not accept,” explained a senior security source. “It would be fairly correct to state that it was hinted to Palestinian senior officials that if they would withdraw their endorsement of the Goldstone report, they would get help in promoting their interests to form a second cellular network in the West Bank.”

The only question I have is: why would Barak be hestitant? I hope the tapes, if they exist, leak.

Looking for further commentary thus far, I found at Media Line:

The final theory, and arguably the most conspiratorial among them, centers on the premise that Israel has recordings of senior Palestinian officials encouraging Israel to continue the January war with Hamas in Gaza, including a video of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas enthusiastically trying to convince Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to continue the attack on Hamas. The theory is that an Israeli threat to release the tapes to the U.N. committee led to the Palestinian leadership pulling out of the resolution.

“Aside from the threat regarding Al Wataniya, Avigdor Lieberman threatened the PA to expose evidence of their deep complicity in Israel’s massacre in Gaza,” Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian analyst and founding member of the Palestinian civil society campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, told The Media Line. “That would have caused several top heads to roll, so to speak.”

Palestinian Authority officials vehemently deny such allegations.

“Play me the video,” Abdallah Abdallah, Chairman of the Political Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) told The Media Line. “Our political stances are not dictated to us by Lieberman or any other Israeli official and the decision was not at all connected to Al Wataniya. We must be aware of these tricks and not fall victim to them. We are talking about national questions.”

“There are other forces within the U.N. Human Rights Council,” he added. “A judgment was taken, so that delaying the report until March would be more helpful in terms of advancing the recommendations in the report. Maybe it was the right decision, maybe not, but this kind of reaction is silly and does not even deserve a response.”

When something’s been officially denied, you should begin to wonder. At Maan the story is denied too.

Under a third subtitle that reads “Abbas’ gamble,” the Israeli journalist reveals what he says are the details about the Palestinian Authority deferring the UN-backed Goldstone report on alleged war crimes in Gaza. He refutes Israeli news reports about Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman trying to threaten and blackmail Abbas with videos that would expose the Palestinian leader’s alleged complicity in the Gaza war.

The article by an Israeli supposedly goes on to argue that Abbas and Netanyahu reached an agreement on ending settlements, arranged by Obama who used leverage from the Goldstone report to pressure Netanyahu. This story is in my view the most far fetched. The US was part of the pressure on the PA not to press on with the Goldstone report in the first place, they were even criticised by HRW for it. The naive fantasy of Obama concerned about Palestinians apparently dies hard. It even claims Fatah will be getting tanks from this grand bargain. This is sheer nonsense, a grand conspiracy all to the advantage of Fatah.

The allegations about Abbas may or may not be true. They’re practically beside the point: Abbas has supported the blockade on Gaza, he endorsed the massacre publically at the beginning, and he has refused to join calls to hold Israel accountable for the massacre (not that I expected anything to come from the Goldstone report beyond its effects on public opinion), besides his attempt to overthrow Hamas in Gaza with support from Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the US.

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