June 16, 2007

Mashaal Dictates Terms

Khaled Mashaal, the international head of Hamas, has made clear that he has directed the group's actions in Gaza, including the rebellion that has split the Palestinian Authority. While he announced yesterday that he recognized Mahmoud Abbas as the head of the PA, he also said that he refused to recognize Abbas' actions as the leader -- and dictated to Abbas that Ismail Haniyeh and the Hamas leadership must be retained:

Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal said Friday evening that Hamas recognizes Mahmoud Abbas as the head of the Palestinian Authority, and that his group wants to cooperate with him for the sake of the Palestinian people.

Mashaal also said that Hamas did not want to take over the Gaza Strip, but was "forced" to, Israel Radio reported.

Referring to Abbas's proposed emergency government, Mashaal said that it had no legal standing and that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh would remain the Palestinian premier. According to Haniyeh, the Palestinians voted for Hamas so the group would ensure security and end bloodshed in Gaza.

What's Palestinian for chutzpah? He wants people to believe that a vote for Hamas -- the more radical of the two terrorist groups in the territories -- was a vote for peace. Mashaal says this in the same week in which his forces started a civil war and executed captured prisoners.

And it's not just this week. Hamas has tried to provoke Israel into a war in Gaza by firing rockets across the border ever since Israel withdrew from the Strip. They kidnapped an IsraeliI soldier, Gilad Shalit, whom they still hold somewhere in Gaza. Is that Mashaal's idea of ending the bloodshed in Gaza?

Mashaal made a number of demands in his statement. He warned Arab nations that Hamas would not accept any Arab peacekeeping troops in Gaza, probably referencing Egypt more than anyone else. Mashaal also warned Abbas not to take any retaliatory action against Hamas in the West Bank, even though his group had murdered Fatah militants for days in Gaza.

Abbas and his staff made it clear that Mashaal's writ no longer runs in what's left of the PA. They've already nominated Haniyeh's replacement, and they're busy rounding up Hamas members and sympathizers in the West Bank. Since the Israelis still occupy the West Bank, they will have little reason to stop Abbas from conducting his purge, but may have plenty of motivation to strike if Hamas resists.

Hamas has a big problem, if Abbas succeeds. The West Bank has an international border with a sympathetic nation, Jordan. Abbas can start cutting deals with the Israelis if he can prove that his rump PA controls the situation there. Gaza has one small border with Egypt, a nation not likely to view Hamas with much affection, and otherwise is cut off from the world. They have their Mediterranean ports, but Israel can easily blockade them, and probably already have. No one in the Mediterranean would trade with Hamas anyway except perhaps Libya, and Moammar Ghaddafi has bigger fish to fry with the US and Europe.

Hamas may have just turned Gaza into Escape from New York -- basically a penal colony from which no one escapes, and in which everyone will slowly starve to death. Given their insistence on conducting terrorist attacks, no Western nation will engage with them, and given their coup against Abbas, the moderate Arabs won't either. Iran and Syria might, but they have no lines of communication to Gaza.

Gaza residents are in a very bad position. Their only hope for survival may be to conduct an uprising against Hamas, because their only other option might be starvation.

UPDATE: Grumpy Old Man asks me in the comments, "have you heard yourself condemning 1.5 million sous to slow starvation?" That's not what I'm doing. They chose Hamas; they need to get rid of them. It isn't our job to rescue them from themselves again. If they choose starvation over acknowledging the evil they supported, that's entirely the choice of the Palestinians in Gaza.


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Comments (14)

Posted by Lightwave | June 16, 2007 10:02 AM

You're overlooking the obvious, Ed.

We know Hamas has been smuggling rockets and arms into Gaza through the Egypt border crossing for a while now, and Egypt has looked the other way because the target of those weapons and arms has been Israel.

That hasn't changed. In fact, I'm going to have to argue that Egypt is even more likely to turn a blind eye to Hamas getting stuff across the border now, precisely because of the situation you describe. In fact, evidence that this WAS planned in advance would have been Hamas smuggling in food and water from Egypt, because they knew the result of taking Gaza would be an attempt by Israel to starve them out by siege.

Meanwhile, expect the coming AP reports over the next few weeks of those Nice Boys From Hamas giving out food and water to the Palestinians that those awful Zionists are trying to starve and kill, with no mention of the greatly increased daily rocket attacks launched from the rooftops of apartment buildings full of "civilians".

Hamas and Iran planned ahead on this one, Ed. They saw what worked in Lebanon, and they figure that enough AP reporters and stories about Israeli bombs and tanks "ripping through neighborhoods of besieged and starving Palestinians" will convince the UN to try to broker a peace while they get to continue to set up weapons.

And when the additional attacks come from Lebanon and yes, even the West Bank, somebody might figure out that this time the attacks won't stop after 35 days. The Arab nations will see that Israel has gotten backed into a corner, and that this will be the best chance to take Israel out that they've ever had.

And really, let's not forget the goal here is to get Israel to lash out and draw the US into a shooting war with Iran, where the REAL weapons of mass destruction -- the media -- can be unleashed upon the US-Israel alliance.

Posted by Bender | June 16, 2007 10:34 AM

If Israel (and everyone else) is going to resort to seige warfare, then I have only one bit of advice -- FINISH THE JOB. Do not go halfway and then stop to engage in some fraudulent "peace process," only to allow Hamas, et al. to survive to kill another day. Do what you should have done in Lebanon and FINISH THE JOB.

Posted by Grumpy Old Man | June 16, 2007 10:46 AM

I agree that Hamas's conduct has been detestable and its policies lead nowhere.

However, have you heard yourself condemning 1.5 million sous to slow starvation? That there are no very good solutions doesn't justify resorting to an utterly evil one.

Posted by Jabba the Tutt | June 16, 2007 11:08 AM

No one's going to starve the Gazans. They'll get their food shipments. Egypt's concern is that their own Islamists may get the idea that HAMAS can do it, so can we. Maybe in a year or so, the US would support a Fatah attack on Gaza to re-take it. Otherwise, it's 'no more fun' for the Palis in Gaza. No music, no drink, only prayers all the time.

Posted by Bookworm | June 16, 2007 11:22 AM

Regarding your response to grumpy old man, I always flash back to an Israeli soldier's comment during the first Lebanon invasion in 1982. He said that, when there a cancer, sometimes the choice is between cutting out some healthy flesh along with the cancer, or letting the whole body die. I think that was a good analogy.

Apropos the death of innocents, the American Thinker blog pointed out that, while the newspapers always highlighted every child who got a splinter as a result of Israeli actions, even though the articles always eventually acknowledged that Israel was very tightly targeting terrorist leaders and soldiers, not a single civilian seems to have gotten hurt (according to MSM) coverage, in the recent bloody civil war in Gaza. (http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2007/06/where_are_the_civilian_casualt.html)

That's useful, because it tells you that the media cares only about the innocents surrounding a battle when it is in their ideology interest to do so.

Posted by Fight4TheRight | June 16, 2007 11:23 AM

This is from a June 12, 2006 interview with Hamas' Prime Minister Haniyeh. Remember, this was a year ago:

" SPIEGEL: If all Palestinian organizations are abiding by the cease-fire, how do you explain the April 17 attack on Tel Aviv's bus terminal? And why did Hamas seek to justify this attack by calling it "resistance."

Haniyeh: We are a people who have never attacked others. We are not the aggressor. We want peace and stability in this region. The Israelis are the problem. They must put an end to the targeted killings and daily bombing of the Gaza Strip. "

Here's the link for the whole interview:


Posted by Carol Herman | June 16, 2007 11:24 AM

The mask's off.

What saddens me, though, is that Bush is still dead set on his course. Which includes the Saud's. And, the incompetent Condi. (Well, our State Department has never done anything right; not since the ending of WW2.) Time marched on.

But the "wishful thinkers" once had a lot more say and sway.

Today? Well, take Mashaal. Israel actually had the Mossad working a detail, and getting to poison him. But this happened in Amman. And, the little king's dad was alive at the time. He raised holy hell. Not only did Israel have to immediately send in the antidote; they had to release evil prisoners with blood on their hands. Or Jordan wasn't gonna be "fwendly."

All those bastards, I gotta tell ya; are bloodthirsty bloodsuckers. Ain't not cure for that!

That Israel's dabbled in communism? Well, Karl Marx, though he went through hoops to deny it, was Jewish. And, it seems ... well, ya know the story ...

How leaders live on past their deaths.

And, there are some people, today, who still believe in the crap of "distribution" to those who don't do a thing to earn it.

But it's been handicapped.

For one reason? Beause all politicians get into the business for their own agrandizement. They look to make money from where they sit. And, they usually do.

And, yes. Olmert plays the weak hand. Doesn't get any weaker than when he meets Bush. And, gets to pee, for the first time, in a White House toilet. Crap won't change destiny, here. But whatever Olmert says, he's lying.

And, when Bush doesn't respond? Since he doesn't talk, anyway? All you know is that there's the guy in the White House trying to advance the Saudi track. So the Saud's can pocket a lot more real estate. They banked on this! They bet billions!

The mess in gazoo? Arik knew. But Israel's problems dealt with the EU cutting off fair trade. IF Israel did nothing, but held onto gazoo, she'd be ostracized from the financial communities and markets in europe.

So, the deal got cut.

Oh, and bozo in the White House; who had inside information that the gazoo freaks were gonna erupt ... do you know what he did? He shoved in $60-million-dollars-worth of guns, ammunition, armored vehicles; and the like. To Fatah. Who didn't even use them! Neat, clean turnover, now. So that Haniyah's killing spree doesn't have to end.

Mashaal, meanwhile, would not be safe in Amman these days. So he's in Damascus.

While Bargouti is in an Israeli jail. (At least in jail he's alive. And, not carted out to git himself some Hamas street justice.)

Why do we watch this stuff on the world stage? Because, there, the old media is still in charge.

What's the real deal?

Well, to understand this, you'ld have to know that in Israel most, if not all, neighborhoods are overrun with arabs. NOT ALL ARABS left town! And, Israel's got more than a million of these cockroaches. Who even have voting rights.

So, yes. It skews outcomes. Even in the labor election you just saw, Ayalon is saying Barak, (who won with about 3,000 votes), won because of the arabs and the Druze.

You can't fix this problem.

And, we can't fix the Bush mind set, either. In Bush's "dreams" the Saud's become the owners of the Mideast. From Iraq. To "hole-in-the-walls." They're a very mean, radical, religious group.

So, who just won in gazoo? If you follow the trail of the religious fanatics; you'd see the Saud's just got a leg up.

And, they're dictating!

Still, when you look. And, you know we killed a worse monster in WW2 ... TWO actually, because we had to deal with Japan, as well ... How come we've lost the spirit?

We no longer fight inside "civilian populations?" When did this become Hoyle?

You didn't know that General Patton was pushing to get to Berlin? You didn't know Ike held him back, because he WAS TOLD to give Stalin this prize?

We've actually stopped fighting.

While we've elected a nincompoop to office.

On the other hand? In large scale populations ... driven beyond our own lonesome "one vote" ... there's Guiliani. And, people seem to be attracted to him, because he's guaranteed to be mean! That's his forte.

For Bush? He's making the next 18 months seem way too long.

For Olmert? He's a one-termer. What happens next, however, in Israeli elections, is anyone's guess. While Arik Sharon called in a Merry-Go-Round. As long as you don't get off on your own steam, the day comes that you can make it back. I still don't hear Bibi getting anywhere. But then, how do you judge distance on a Merry-Go-Round?

Of course, we also live with PC. So you've got more than one example, up on the stage, of something that's failed. That still gets face time. Otherwise, how do you explain ABBAS? What would he have to lose, to finally be buried? Incompetence? He rides high on that one!

Meanwhile, Haniyah ain't long for this world. Or? He has to live in a hidey-hole. Just like Nasrallah.

Meanwhile, gazoo has more buildings standing than you'd see in that refugee camp in Lebanon.

Again, the arabs house palestinians without giving them citizenship. That's the nature of their status. UNWORTHY, among their own. Only Israel's told that this crap "can be there's." Even the idiot in the White House, eventually has to leave, ya know?

Same song and dance. Till we get another presidential partner.

Posted by Mr Michael | June 16, 2007 11:29 AM

The Gazans cannot save themselves from Hamas, Captain... Hamas is not going to fold up their army because the populace doesn't like them, the populace can't vote out a military dictatorship, and they don't have the weapons to kick them out by force.

Israel doesn't have to starve the Gazans out... they can just declare that Israel recognizes Gaza as a part of Egypt, and that the Gazans are Egypt's problem to fix. Then Israel can complain to the UN that Egypt is allowing terrorists to run one of it's neighborhoods...

That is to say... a two state solution. Israel and Egypt. So what if Egypt doesn't want it... too bad. Get to work. You have our Blessing. Oh, and we're going to hold you responsible, and cut off our funding to Egypt if you don't keep the terrorists in your Nation under control...

Posted by Robert I. Eachus | June 16, 2007 1:42 PM

Israel doesn't have to starve the Gazans out... they can just declare that Israel recognizes Gaza as a part of Egypt, and that the Gazans are Egypt's problem to fix. Then Israel can complain to the UN that Egypt is allowing terrorists to run one of it's neighborhoods...

Nice idea, but it won't work. Egypt can respond in kind by claiming that the Gaza strip belongs to Israel. What Israel and the Palestinian Authority can move people who are willing to leave the Gaza Strip without weapons to the West Bank. (They could also allow the people to leave with weapons to be surrendered in Israel, or better use special armed buses or even build a railroad for the purpose--it would only have to go a few miles.)

Hamas would soon have to react by prohibiting emigration to the West Bank. Israel then could open points in its wall around Gaza to allow refugees through. (While checking for weapons and explosives of course.)

At that point either Hamas melts down quickly, or Israel, Egypt, the US and others intervene militarily. What you have to understand is that most of the 'soldiers' for Hamas are teen-aged (or early twenties) adrenaline junkies. As long as they have targets to shoot at, there is some semblance of discipline. As could be seen from the recent cease-fires, that lasts about 24 hours.

The piece that is needed to make this work is a decent missile defense system around Gaza. It doesn't matter if it takes a $100,000 anti-missile-missile, to shoot down a $1000 piece of junk. What does matter is taking away the adrenaline fix. (The C-RAM version of the Navy's CIWS can probably do the job a lot cheaper, and I think the US should be providing C-RAM and the associated radar to Israel.)

Will Hamas devolve into internecine fighting? If you take away the outlet of shooting missiles at Israel, that's the way I would bet.

Posted by Tom W. | June 16, 2007 3:06 PM

The Palestinians danced and ululated after 9/11. They murder gays. They drag "collaborators" out into the street and smash their faces with rocks. They chant "God is great" as they lynch people, disembowel them, and literally jump up and down on their heads.

They kill Israeli soldiers, gut them like chickens, and run around holding up their bloody hands, grinning for the cameras.

I don't care even the slightest what happens to the Gazans. Their stupid, self-inflicted plight reminds me of a couple here in Los Angeles who bought a pit bull because they wanted a mean dog to intimidate the neighbors. They were impatient to get started with their new role as baddies, so they bought an adult dog instead of a puppy.

The same day they brought the dog home, it bit their legs so badly they had to go to the hospital and get hundreds of stitches. It was clear from the news reports that we were supposed to feel sorry for the sad, bandaged idiots, but I just laughed.

Enjoy your hell, Palestinians. You carefully built it up over a period of years. It's all yours.

Posted by KJBtruth | June 16, 2007 6:32 PM

Well it seems to me that until Israel can solve it's own internal problems with weak leadership, that she will be in no civic condition to "follow through." Israel missed a golden opportunity to destroy Hamas, and they should pray to get another chance while Iran is distracted with other issues.

Hopefully our own government, constrained as it is with weak leadership, can supply the distraction.

But then I supported bombing the crap out of those nuclear sites 18 months ago...

Posted by Arthur | June 17, 2007 1:04 AM

> However, have you heard yourself condemning 1.5 million sous to slow starvation?

Starvation? Not a problem. I hear there were State-of-the-Art greenhouses left behind when the Israelis pulled out a couple of years ago. Those greenhouses produced tremendous amounts of food before.

I'm sure they've taken meticulous care of those greenhouses since the Israelis left....

Posted by Gary Ogletree | June 17, 2007 7:07 AM

I expect we will soon see sympathic reports on Hamas from the BBC and money flowing in from the EU. I also expect "Israel's victims" to start beheading apostates, stoning women to death, shutting down all fun, etc. It's only because the Taliban went full bore sharia that so many people in Afghanistan are our staunch allies, infidels or not. A little sharia medicine is good for Muslims who have been used to relative freedom to sort out their delusions.