person:ismail haniyeh

  • Pushing for an Israeli victory is the only way to end the conflict with the Palestinians

    Il faut lire ce point de vue d’un néoconservateur américain car il reflète une partie de la pensée de la droite pro-israélienne

    Lieberman and Bennett failed to impose a new paradigm on how to deal with Hamas, but more and more people in Israel are recognizing that compromises and concessions have only led to more violence

    Daniel Pipes SendSend me email alerts
    Dec 02, 2018 4:04 PM

    From a practical political point of view, Avigdor Lieberman, Naftali Bennett, and their idea to take a tougher stand toward Hamas just went down to defeat, if not humiliation. 
    That’s because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again showed his political skills; the first is now ex-defense minister, the second failed to become defense minister.
    >> ‘Get used to the rockets’: What Netanyahu should tell Israelis living near Gaza | Opinion
    From a longer-term point of view, however, the duo raised an issue that for decades had not been part of the Israeli political discourse but, due to their efforts, promises to be an important factor in the future: that would be the concept of victory, of an Israeli victory over Hamas and, by extension, over the Palestinian Authority and Palestinians in general.
    Victory – defined as imposing one’s will on the enemy so he gives up his war goals - has been the war goal of philosophers, strategists, and generals through human history. Aristotle wrote that “Victory is the end of generalship.” Karl von Clausewitz, the Prussian theorist, concurred: “The aim of war should be the defeat of the enemy.” Gen. James Mattis, the U.S. secretary of defense, finds that “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over.” 
    Palestinians routinely speak of achieving victory over Israel, even when this is fantastical: to cite one example, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas called his Hamas counterpart, Ismail Haniyeh, after eight days of violence with Israel that left Gaza badly battered in November 2012 to “congratulate him on the victory and extend condolences to the families of martyrs.”

    Contrarily, in Israel, the notion of victory has been sidelined since at least the Oslo Accords of 1993, after which its leaders instead focused on such concepts as compromise, conciliation, confidence-building, flexibility, goodwill, mediation, and restraint. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert immemorially articulated this attitude in 2007 when he stated that "Peace is achieved through concessions.”
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    >> Israel is incomparably stronger than Hamas – but it will never win: Interview with Hamas leader in Gaza
    his perverse understanding of how wars end led Israel to make extraordinary blunders in the 15 years after Oslo, for which it was punished by unremitting campaigns of delegitimization and violence, symbolized, respectively, by the Durban conference of 2001  and the Passover Massacre of 2002. 
    Such nonsense ended during Netanyahu’s near-decade-long term as prime minister, but it has not yet been replaced by a sturdy vision of victory. Rather, Netanyahu has put out brush fires as they arose in Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, Syria, and Lebanon. While agreeing with the concept of an Israeli victory when personally briefed, he has not spoken publicly about it.
    Meanwhile, other leading figures in Israel have adopted this outlook. Former deputy chief of staff Uzi Dayan called on the army “to return the path of victory.” Former education and interior minister Gideon Sa’ar has stated that “The ‘victory paradigm,’ like Jabotinsky’s ‘Iron Wall’ concept, assumes that an agreement may be possible in the future, but only after a clear and decisive Israeli victory ... The transition to the ‘victory paradigm’ is contingent upon abandoning the Oslo concept.”
    In this context, the statements by Lieberman and Bennett point to a change in thinking. Lieberman quit his position as defense minister out of frustration that a barrage by Hamas of 460 rockets and missiles against Israel was met with a ceasefire; he called instead for “a state of despair” to be imposed on the enemies of Israel. Complaining that “Israel stopped winning,” Bennett demanded that the IDF “start winning again,” and added that “When Israel wants to win, we can win.” On rescinding his demand for the defense portfolio, Bennett emphasized that he stands by Netanyahu “in the monumental task of ensuring that Israel is victorious again.”
    >> Netanyahu’s vision for the Middle East has come true | Analysis
    Opponents of this paradigm then amusingly testified to the power of this idea of victory. Ma’ariv columnist Revital Amiran wrote that the victory the Israeli public most wants lies in such arenas as larger allocations for the elderly and unbearable traffic jams. Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg, replied to Bennett that for her, a victorious Israel means winning Emmy and Oscar nominations, guaranteeing equal health services, and spending more on education.
    That victory and defeat have newly become a topic for debate in Israel constitutes a major development. Thus does the push for an Israeli victory move forward.
    Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum think tank, which promotes Israel Victory, a project to steer U.S. policy toward backing an Israeli victory to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. Follow him on Twitter @DanielPipes

  • A rational Hamas

    Hamas leader’s interview with Israeli paper caused an uproar. It wasn’t always like that

    Amira Hass

    The interview with Yahya Sinwar, Hamas chief in Gaza, which was conducted by Italian journalist Francesca Borri and published in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth,” set off a major internet storm in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian diaspora. What? Sinwar spoke knowingly to an Israeli newspaper? It wasn’t the content that caused the uproar (“A new war is not in anyone’s interest, certainly not our interest”) – only the host.
    >> Israel is incomparably stronger than Hamas – but it will never win: Interview with Hamas leader in Gaza
    Sinwar’s bureau hastened to publish a clarification: The request was for an interview with an Italian newspaper and a British newspaper; the Western media department in the Hamas movement ascertained that the journalist was neither Jewish nor Israeli, and that she has never worked with the Israeli press. There was no face-to-face interview with the above-mentioned journalist, but rather a written response to her questions. The journalist met with Sinwar only for the purpose of a joint photo.

    Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar greets militants in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, after his release from Israeli prison, October 20, 2011Adel Hana / ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Borri, 38, is a freelance journalist who began writing only about six years ago, mainly from Syria. “I think that Sinwar agreed to let me interview him because he knew that I’m a war correspondent and that I would understand when he told me that he isn’t interested in another war,” she told me over the phone from Italy on Friday.
    Her articles have been published in many languages – including in Hebrew in Yedioth Ahronoth. In June, Borri visited Gaza and published an article that was “tough on Hamas,” as she put it. She was haunted by the sight of little children begging, and in her opinion the Islamic resistance movement is also responsible for the terrible deterioration in the Strip. That article was also translated and published in Yedioth.
    And then Borri received a text message from one of Sinwar’s advisers, she told me. Why are you so hard on the Palestinians, he complained. They exchanged several text messages, until she asked if she could interview Sinwar. In late August she came to the Gaza Strip again, to interview him.

    Yahya Sinwar holds his son Ibrahim while he listens to Khaled Mashaal, the outgoing Hamas leader in exile, during his news conference in Doha, Qatar, on Monday, May 1, 2017Adel Hana,AP
    I asked her whether Hamas really didn’t know that the article would be published in Yedioth. “As a freelancer, transparency is important to me,” she said. “It was clear to everyone that the interview would be translated into other languages, including Hebrew. Everyone in Sinwar’s bureau knew that my articles have been published in Yedioth Ahronoth.”

    What caused the outrage was that the wording of the article seemed to indicate that Borri was sent by the Israeli newspaper, and that that’s how the situation was presented to Sinwar. Here is the wording of her first question: “This is the first time ever that you’re agreeing to speak to the Western media – and to an Israeli newspaper yet.” According to Borri, the words “and to an Israeli newspaper yet” didn’t appear in her original question to Sinwar.
    >> ’We can’t prevail against a nuclear power’: Hamas’ Gaza chief says he doesn’t want war with Israel
    On the other hand, she confirmed that Sinwar’s final remark in the article, “and they translate you regularly into Hebrew too,” really was said. “Sinwar spoke to me, and through me to the world. I had the impression that he’s interested in talking through me to the Israelis too,” she said.
    And was the interview really conducted face-to-face and during joint trips with Sinwar and his aides over the course of five days, or in writing, as Hamas claimed. Borri explains: “I never record. I feel that people’s answers change when they see a recording device.” She didn’t travel with him in his car, but she says she did join a convoy of cars with Sinwar through the Strip, yet preferred not to say where.
    On Thursday, in other words before the publication of the full article in Yedioth on Friday, the Al Jazeera website in Arabic already published the text of the written questions and answers that were exchanged, according to Hamas, between Sinwar’s bureau and Borri. A comparison of the written version with the article in Yedioth reveals great similarity between the two texts, with a few differences – mainly a change in the order of the questions and their answers, sentences, declarations and facts that were deleted from the Hebrew version, and a few sentences that were added to it.
    >> Israeli military strikes Gazans who launched incendiary balloons
    The questions and answers in the Arabic version flow, and there is a connection between the replies and the following questions; in other words, a conversation is taking place. According to Al Jazeera, the written questions and replies were exchanged several times between the parties. There is even mention of how during the interview, Sinwar pointed to one of his advisers and said that his son was killed by Israeli fire.
    Borri confirmed in a conversation with me that she combined the replies received in writing, over a period of time, with answers she received orally. Due to the great similarity between the two versions, my impression is that many replies were sent to her in writing. A Gaza resident told me that he was convinced that most of the answers were given in writing because of “the polished wording, the level-headed replies and the rational explanations.”
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    He believes that an entire team thought things through and wrote the answers, not Sinwar alone. He also said that the message in the interview is addressed to the Palestinians in Gaza “who are sick and tired of Hamas rule,” no less than to readers in the West, whom Borri enables to see a senior Hamas official as a leader who cares about his people, rather than as a caricature of a bloodthirsty fanatic.
    And I was left longing for the period when senior Hamas officials gave interviews to the Israeli press and to a Jewish Israeli like me – including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Ismail Haniyeh and many others. And I was left with the following conclusion: When Israel doesn’t allow Israeli journalists to enter Gaza, it makes life easy for Hamas.

  • Hamas delegation in Cairo: More media show for ‘century deal’ than substance | MadaMasr

    While ‘a way out’ of the US economic deal was among the delegation’s aims, the refusal of key Hamas political figures to attend makes outcomes of the talks ‘meaningless.’

    A Hamas delegation left Cairo on Friday night after spending four days in the Egyptian capital, pushing for a temporary resolution to the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip and a way out of the United States’s “deal of the century” with the “least amount of  damage” possible, according to a source close to the Palestinian movement’s Gaza-based leadership.

    Despite the seeming stakes of the Cairo agenda, a second high-ranking Hamas source minimized the significance of the talks between Egyptian General Intelligence Director Abbas Kamal and the Gaza delegation that is headed by Saleh Arouri and composed of Hamas political bureau members Moussa Abu Marzouk, Ezzat al-Risheq, Khalil al-Hayya, Hossam Badran, and Rawhi Mushtaha.

    The second source, who is close to representatives of the Hamas leadership abroad, tells Mada Masr that Cairo extended an invitation to Hamas senior political leader Ismail Haniyeh and the movement’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar. However, neither accepted the invitation, with Haniya calling the visit “worthless,” according to the source.

    For the second Hamas source, the visit’s objectives were twofold: “probing” and “staging a media show to suggest to the Americans that the key to Gaza remains singularly in Hamas’s pocket.”

  • ’We die anyway, so let it be in front of the cameras’: Conversations with Gazans - Israel News -

    My friends in Gaza are outraged by Israel’s claim that Hamas rules everything. ’You people always looked down at us, so it’s hard for you to understand that no one demonstrates in anyone else’s name’

    Amira Hass May 20, 2018

    “Our ability, the Palestinians, to be killed is greater than your ability, the Israelis, to kill,” a resident of the Deheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem told me at the beginning of the second intifada. Ever an optimist, he meant that because of this difference, in the end the two sides would reach a fair agreement.
    On Tuesday this week, alongside the border fence and across from Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip, his mistake once again became clear. There’s a limit to the Palestinians’ ability to be killed. In the morning after the Monday of bloodshed, the protesters took a break. Sixty fresh mourning tents and hundreds of newly wounded justified the lull they asked for. The next day, Nakba Day, which was supposed to be the peak, was actually the day they gave up on the symbolic mass March of Return to the border fence.
    >> Israel’s Gaza Killings: War Crimes or Self-defense? Experts Weigh In ■ The bloodstained first act of the Trump Intifada || Opinion ■ If you call the Gaza death toll ’disproportionate,’ how many Israelis have to die for the sake of symmetry? || Opinion

    Between the sunflower and potato fields of the kibbutzim, I was jealous of my colleagues who were forwarding the statements by the army and Israeli politicians with such great self-persuasion. According to Israeli spokespeople, both military and civilian, the respite along the border fence is unequivocal proof that Hamas’ leaders control everything, and everyone is under their authority; they’re the ones who sent the people to their deaths a day earlier, they’re the ones who prevented that scenario the next day. So simple.

    According to those reports, Egypt handed down instructions to stop the process – after receiving an Israeli request – and Hamas obeyed. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was humiliated, and it worked. All this is received in Israel as established facts, investigative journalism and another Israeli victory. There’s no need to be in Gaza to know, and it doesn’t matter that the army forbids Israeli journalists to enter the Strip.

    All our bionic powers do the work: balloons for taking photographs, drones, eavesdropping, collaborators, an off-the-record statement by a senior Fatah official in Ramallah. All this appears to provide what we interpret as the gospel truth. In comparison, an abundance of details, explanations, assumptions, denials, hesitations and contradictions that we receive from the Palestinian side are considered failed journalism that doesn’t provide a bottom line.  

    Near the sprinklers blithely spraying water in the Israeli fields, I wondered: If you knew that Hamas planned to cynically send people to their deaths so as to once again gain attention and portray Israel as evil, why do you do what they wanted? Why do you, who didn’t use nonlethal means, obey Hamas too?  

    There’s an interior fence, a security fence, and a berm that was built with earth removed from the digging of Israel’s new underground barrier. And there’s a security road and then another one. And then the fields. Around it all are lookout posts and above are surveillance balloons and drones. And all you could do was prove Israel’s ability to kill and maim?

  • ’We die anyway, so let it be in front of the cameras’: Conversations with Gazans | Amira Hass May 19, 2018 11:45 AM
    My friends in Gaza are outraged by Israel’s claim that Hamas rules everything. ’You people always looked down at us, so it’s hard for you to understand that no one demonstrates in anyone else’s name’
    Amira Hass May 19, 2018 11:45 AM

    “Our ability, the Palestinians, to be killed is greater than your ability, the Israelis, to kill,” a resident of the Deheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem told me at the beginning of the second intifada. Ever an optimist, he meant that because of this difference, in the end the two sides would reach a fair agreement.

    On Tuesday this week, alongside the border fence and across from Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip, his mistake once again became clear. There’s a limit to the Palestinians’ ability to be killed. In the morning after the Monday of bloodshed, the protesters took a break. Sixty fresh mourning tents and hundreds of newly wounded justified the lull they asked for. The next day, Nakba Day, which was supposed to be the peak, was actually the day they gave up on the symbolic mass March of Return to the border fence.

    Between the sunflower and potato fields of the kibbutzim, I was jealous of my colleagues who were forwarding the statements by the army and Israeli politicians with such great self-persuasion. According to Israeli spokespeople, both military and civilian, the respite along the border fence is unequivocal proof that Hamas’ leaders control everything, and everyone is under their authority; they’re the ones who sent the people to their deaths a day earlier, they’re the ones who prevented that scenario the next day. So simple.

    According to those reports, Egypt handed down instructions to stop the process – after receiving an Israeli request – and Hamas obeyed. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was humiliated, and it worked. All this is received in Israel as established facts, investigative journalism and another Israeli victory. There’s no need to be in Gaza to know, and it doesn’t matter that the army forbids Israeli journalists to enter the Strip.

    All our bionic powers do the work: balloons for taking photographs, drones, eavesdropping, collaborators, an off-the-record statement by a senior Fatah official in Ramallah. All this appears to provide what we interpret as the gospel truth. In comparison, an abundance of details, explanations, assumptions, denials, hesitations and contradictions that we receive from the Palestinian side are considered failed journalism that doesn’t provide a bottom line.

    Near the sprinklers blithely spraying water in the Israeli fields, I wondered: If you knew that Hamas planned to cynically send people to their deaths so as to once again gain attention and portray Israel as evil, why do you do what they wanted? Why do you, who didn’t use nonlethal means, obey Hamas too?

    There’s an interior fence, a security fence, and a berm that was built with earth removed from the digging of Israel’s new underground barrier. And there’s a security road and then another one. And then the fields. Around it all are lookout posts and above are surveillance balloons and drones. And all you could do was prove Israel’s ability to kill and maim?

    Silent proximity

    From a hill in the fields of Kibbutz Nir Am, you could clearly see Beit Hanun, Izbet Abed Rabo and the edges of Shujaiyeh in northern Gaza. The tall apartment blocks too, rising high. The continuous built-up area from Beit Lahia to the southern end of Gaza City seems very close. A single white pickup truck drove along the seam line between the farmed Palestinian fields and the wide strip of land where Israel forbids farming, and to the north a horse-drawn cart set off.

    This silent proximity, without any contact, demonstrated the state of imprisonment – from the opposite side. After all, I once lived there, I went to all those places that I now see through binoculars and remember the events I covered and the people I wrote about, between the wars, during the wars, during the uprisings and so-to-speak lulls.

    Now these places are a film, to see and not touch. A kilometer or two away are my friends, dear to me, and we’re not allowed to see each other anymore. One of them joked that he’d come to the March of Return camp and wave a large Palestinian flag to say hello to me. But WhatsApp is more convenient.

    On the phone my friends are outraged and everyone says it in their own way: To say Hamas controls all this is to take from every Palestinian in Gaza not only their right to freedom of movement and a respectable livelihood but also the right to deep frustration and despair – and their right to express it.

    “The Israelis look look down on us and have always looked down on us. In your eyes, a good Arab is a collaborator or dead,” one said. “Therefore it’s hard for you to understand that no one demonstrates in the name of someone else’s. Everyone goes there for themselves. We’re a people without resources and now without a vision and without a plan, and at the lowest point in terms of international support and internal organization. But we went out to demonstrate in order to disrupt something in the celebrations of the transfer of the embassy. Jerusalem is dear to us. We go so as not to die in silence. Because we’re sick and tired of dying quietly, in our homes,” he added.

    “If you die, be in front of the cameras. Loudly. I’m going to the mosque. There hasn’t been any order from above to go to the demonstration. I hear young people saying that tomorrow they’ll go die at the fence, like someone who’s talking about a picnic or candy. I went to the [March of] Return camp two or three times, and I didn’t like it. Too much confusion. If Hamas was controlling the entire event there wouldn’t be a mess there. After all, you know how Hamas events are always orderly, organized, disciplined.”

    True, there were Hamas security people in civilian clothes; they weren’t there as Hamas but as law and order for the acting government, as at every mass event – to prevent armed people from approaching the fence, provocations by collaborators, to intervene if there was a dispute or sexual harassment.

    Hamas has lost its popularity in Gaza because of the failures and disasters of the past 10 years, a friend promised me after he reminded me that he “doesn’t like them at all.” At the beginning, they weren’t enthused by the idea of the March of Return, after young activists brought the idea to all political factions’ leaders, he says.

    After that Hamas adopted the idea too. As an organization, Hamas is capable of offering what other groups can’t: rides to the March of Return camps, maybe a sandwich and a bottle of cola and tents. “But they can’t force us to come and endanger ourselves. After all, it’s dangerous to be even 300 or 400 meters away, because the soldiers shoot at us.”

    A foreigner in Gaza had the impression: “Hamas can’t order people to go to demonstrations and endanger their lives, but they can stop them from nearing the fence.” One of the ways is statements in the media.

    The many non-Hamas dead

    On Wednesday, a uniform report landed at a number of Israeli media outlets, that a Hamas leader, Salah al-Bardawil, “admitted in an interview with Palestinian television that 50 of the 60 killed in the past two days were Hamas members.” A great sigh of relief was heard in Israel. Hamas? In other words, terrorists by definition, in other words, you’re allowed to kill them. There’s even a commandment to do so.

    The source of the report was an Arabic-language tweet by Avichay Adraee of the IDF Spokesman’s Office. He attached to the tweet, a short fragment from the hour-long-plus interview with Bardawil on the Facebook-transmitted news channel Baladna.

    The interviewer, Ahmed Sa’id, asked difficult questions he was hearing on the street, mostly from Fatah supporters: What about the humiliation you suffered in Egypt, and why is Hamas sending people to the fence to die – and you are reaping the (political) fruit?

    Bardawil had to defend his organization and say this wasn’t true, there was no humiliation and Hamas members were demonstrating like anybody else, with everybody else.

    “Unfortunately, this is the organization today that nurtures the motivation and awareness among young people the most,” one of my friends explained to me earlier.

    Let’s return to Bardawil. So he said that 50 of the 60 killed were Hamas members. I checked and was told that the official figure Hamas has is that from the beginning of the March of Return on March 30, 42 people linked to Hamas were among the 120 people killed: members of the movement, well-known activists, members of Hamas families.

    It seems that about 20 members of Hamas’ military wing were killed, and they were killed not near the protests but under circumstances that still must be clarified. But the rest were unarmed rank-and-file protesters. And they demonstrated because they were Gazans. But once Bardawil said what he said it’s hard to deny his words in public. “This (figure of 50) is another typical exaggeration of ours,” said my friend who didn’t come to wave his flag to me to say hello.

    As for exaggerations, “the idea of the March of Return to break the standstill and stop Gaza’s slow descent – we all liked that, me too,” said someone else. “But the details I don’t like. What’s this foolishness of the March of Return and lifting the blockade?’ They haven’t even thought through the slogans properly. Because if the goal is to return to the villages, the blockade is an irrelevant issue.”

    Between the sunflowers and the few fires that broke out Tuesday, soldiers were at their posts on alert. They moved on the continuum between hyperactive self-importance and the idleness of a picnic. They were posted within the perimeters of the kibbutzim, a very short distance from the houses. The armored personnel carriers were also within the distance of a morning walk.

    This is what’s called a military presence in the heart of a civilian population. I remembered the reverse circumstance, of Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip, which served as justification for Israel to besmirch the group as hiding behind civilians, and for the IDF to bomb anyone near them.

  • It’s not a ’Hamas march’ in Gaza. It’s tens of thousands willing to die - Palestinians -
    Amira Hass May 15, 2018 9:53 AM

    “ The Israeli army’s characterization of the demonstrations diminishes their gravity, but also unwittingly cast Hamas as a responsible, sophisticated political organization

    We’re pleased our Hamas brethren understood that the proper way was through a popular, unarmed struggle,” Fatah representatives have said on several occasions recently regarding the Gaza March of Return. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said something similar during his address to the Palestinian National Council last week.

    This expressed both cynicism and envy. Cynicism because Fatah’s official stance is that the armed struggle led by Hamas has harmed the Palestinian cause in general and the Gaza Strip in particular. And envy because the implication, which the Israeli army’s statements have reinforced, is that a call from Hamas is enough to get tens of thousands of unarmed demonstrators to face Israeli snipers along the border.

    In contrast, calls by Fatah and the PLO in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, don’t bring more than a few thousand people to the streets and flash points with the police and the army. It happened again Monday, when the U.S. Embassy moved to Jerusalem. The number of Palestinian protesters in Gaza was far greater than the number in the West Bank.

    The decisions on the March of Return events was made jointly by all the groups in Gaza, including Fatah. But the most organized group — the one that can work out the required logistics, equip the “return camps” (points of assembly and activity that were set up a few hundred meters from the Gaza border), control the information, maintain contact with the demonstrators and declare a general strike to protest the embassy move — is Hamas. Even a Fatah member sadly admitted this to Haaretz.

    This doesn’t mean that all the demonstrators are Hamas supporters or fans of the movement who are obeying its orders. Not at all. The demonstrators come from all sectors of the population, people who identify politically and those who don’t.

    “Whoever is afraid stays home, because the army shoots at everyone. The crazy ones are those who go close to the border, and they are from all the organizations or from none of them,” said a participant in the demonstration.

    The army’s claims to journalists that this is a “Hamas march” are diminishing the weight of these events and the significance of tens of thousands of Gazans who are willing to get hurt, while ironically strengthening Hamas’ status as a responsible political organization that knows how to change the tactics of its struggle, while also knowing how to play down its role.

    On Monday, with the killing of no fewer than 53 Gaza residents as of 7 P.M., there was no place for cynicism or envy. Abbas declared a period of mourning and ordered flags lowered for three days, along with a general strike Tuesday. This is the same Abbas who was planning a series of economic sanctions against the Strip in another attempt to quash Hamas.

    The residents of the Gaza Strip, with their dead and wounded, are influencing internal Palestinian politics, whether they know it or not, whether intentionally or not. No one would dare impose such sanctions now. Time will tell whether anyone will come to the conclusion that if Israel is killing so many during unarmed demonstrations, they might as well return to individual armed attacks — as revenge or as a tactic that will lead to fewer Palestinian victims.

    In the early hours of Monday morning, army bulldozers entered the Gaza Strip and leveled the sand banks built by Palestinians to protect them from snipers, according to fieldworkers from the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights.

    At around 6:30 A.M., the army also fired at tents in the return camps, and several of the tents went up in flames. Some of the burned tents were used by first-aid teams, Al Mezan reported.

    The Samaa news website reported that police dogs were sent into the return camps and that the army sprayed “skunk” water in the border area. The frantic summons of senior Hamas figures in the Gaza Strip to meet with Egyptian intelligence in Cairo was understood even before it was reported that the Egyptians passed on threatening Israeli messages to Ismail Haniyeh and Khalil al-Hayya, deputy to the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar.

    Everyone in the Gaza Strip knows the hospitals are way over capacity and that the medical teams are unable to treat all the wounded. Al Mezan reported on a medical delegation that was supposed to arrive from the West Bank but was prevented from entering by Israel.

    Everyone knows that wounded people who were operated on are being discharged too soon and that there’s a shortage of essential drugs for the wounded, including antibiotics. Even when there are drugs, many of the wounded cannot pay even the minimum required to obtain them, and so they return a few days later to the doctor with an infection. This is all based on reports from international medical sources.

    All the signals, warnings, the many fatalities in the past few weeks and the disturbing reports from the hospitals did not deter the tens of thousands of demonstrators Monday. The right of return and opposition to the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem are worthy goals or reasons, acceptable to all.

    But not to the extent that masses of West Bank and East Jerusalem residents would join their brothers in the Gaza Strip. There, the most desirable goal for which to demonstrate is the obvious demand and the easiest to implement immediately — to give Gazans back their freedom of movement and their right to connect with the outside world, especially with members of their own people beyond the barbed wire surrounding them. This is a demand of the “ordinary” public and not a private Hamas matter, since both its leaders and rank-and-file members know very well that once they enter the Erez crossing between Israel and the Strip, they will be arrested.

  • Hamas in message to Israel: Willing to negotiate long-term truce -

    According to intelligence assessments, the organization is still in dire distress and is currently more open to discussing options it rejected in the past

    Amos Harel May 07, 2018

    Israel News -

    Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip have recently conveyed messages to Israel indicating their willingness to negotiate a long term cease-fire in the enclave. These messages were passed through different channels on several occasions over the last few months. Hamas wants to tie the cease-fire with an easing of the siege on Gaza, permission to embark on large-scale infrastructure projects and a prisoner and body exchange deal.
    As far as is known, Israel has not responded clearly to the messages.
    Reports presented to senior defense establishment officials and the political echelons say that tensions in Gaza will remain high even after the massive Nakba Day demonstration Hamas has planned for May 15, when Palestinians mark the expulsion of Arabs from their homes during the 1947-49 Israeli War of Independence. According to intelligence assessments, Hamas is still in dire and unprecedented strategic distress and is currently more open to discussing options it rejected in the past.
    The Hamas leadership is engaged in a lively debate regarding the negotiation of a cease-fire and the exchange of prisoners and bodies. The daily Israel Hayom reported two weeks ago that Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, is in favor, while the overall Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh is opposed. The paper claimed that Sinwar accused Haniyeh of yielding to Iranian pressure in forming his positions.
    At the same time, reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are still on hold after the assassination attempt on the PA’s Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during his visit to Gaza in March. The PA blamed Hamas for detonating explosives close to Hamdallah’s convoy while Hamas blamed internal rivalry within the PA and attributed the attempt to the head of the General Intelligence Service in Ramallah, Majid Faraj, who was also in the convoy.

  • Iran’s Soleimani sends message of defiance in calls to Hamas

    Also on Dec. 11, the Beirut-based pan-Arab Al-Mayadeen News reported that in the telephone call, Soleimani stated that all the Arab resistance movements, such as Hezbollah and other groups that emerged during the Syrian war, are prepared to defend Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque. He expressed Iran’s full support for the Palestinian resistance forces.

    The call came a few hours before a speech by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah urging the axis of resistance to develop a unified strategy to confront Israel. Meanwhile, Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh also called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss Trump’s decision. In a statement by Hamas, Haniyeh described the US decision as an act of aggression against the Palestinian people and the Islamic world.

    Commenting on these phone conversations to Al-Monitor, Hamas’ representative in Iran, Khaled al-Qaddumi, emphasized the ties between the resistance factions and the Iranian Republic. He explained that Soleimani’s phone call to military leaders in Gaza comes in the context of an ongoing partnership against the common enemy, Israel.

    Qaddumi further asserted that the Iranian people, represented by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Rouhani, reject Trump’s decision. Emphasizing Jerusalem’s Arab and Muslim identity, he said Iran fears the move will further inflame the Middle East region.

    In turn, Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza Khader Habib denied news reported by some Israeli media outlets that Soleimani ordered the Palestinian factions to escalate militarily against Israel. “Iran never ordered resistance activities or interfered in the resistance’s field activities,” he told Al-Monitor. Notably, the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip targeting the Gaza envelope settlements increased in the wake of the decision.

    Habib noted that t

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  • Les diplomates suisses privés de voyage à Gaza -
    Le Temps - Luis Lema | Publié mercredi 29 novembre 2017

    Découvrant des photos sur le site du Hamas, les autorités israéliennes s’en prennent au rôle de médiateur de la diplomatie suisse

    C’étaient les photos de trop. Les images montrent le représentant suisse dans les territoires palestiniens, Julien Thöni, s’entretenant avec le nouveau chef du Hamas, Yahya Sinouar. Il y a aussi celle qui voit poser côte à côte le responsable suisse de la politique de paix au Moyen-Orient, Roland Steininger, au côté d’Ismaïl Haniyeh, un autre chef du mouvement islamiste palestinien. Circonstance aggravante : les deux hommes tiennent un tableau représentant Jérusalem, que les Palestiniens revendiquent comme leur capitale, où l’on distingue un dôme du Rocher, tout de bleu et d’or, s’élevant derrière les murailles de la vieille ville…

    Ces photos, publiées ces dernières semaines sur le site internet du Hamas, ont provoqué l’ire des autorités israéliennes. Et plus précisément du ministre de la Défense, Avigdor Liberman : les diplomates suisses, a-t-il fait savoir mercredi, sont désormais privés de tout voyage à Gaza. Pour le dirigeant du parti d’extrême droite Israel Beytenou, l’affaire demande des « éclaircissements », a-t-il fait valoir auprès de la radio de l’armée israélienne.

    La présence, à intervalles réguliers, de diplomates suisses à Gaza est un secret de polichinelle. Ou plutôt une constante connue de tous depuis que la Suisse s’est érigée en médiateur (parmi d’autres) entre le Hamas, qui contrôle Gaza, et le Fatah du président Mahmoud Abbas au pouvoir en Cisjordanie. Bien plus : voilà des années que la Suisse partage son initiative avec tous les Etats qui, de près ou de loin, sont parties prenantes de la question mais qui, pour beaucoup, considèrent le Hamas comme un mouvement terroriste et s’interdisent donc tout contact avec ses dirigeants. (...)

  • Le conflit s’intensifie entre le Hamas et les salafistes de Gaza | Chronique de Palestine
    Par Hamza Abu Eltarabesh, écrivain et journaliste indépendant à Gaza | 13 octobre 2017 – The Electronic Intifada – Traduction : Chronique de Palestine – Dominique Muselet

    (...) Nidal, un membre des Brigades Qassam, la branche militaire du Hamas, a été tué le 17 août dans un attentat-suicide près de la frontière de Gaza avec l’Égypte.

    A l’époque, l’attentat a été attribué au groupe État islamique. C’était le dernier épisode de violence résultant de la rivalité meurtrière qui oppose, depuis une dizaine d’année, le parti islamiste qui contrôle les affaires intérieures de Gaza aux militants salafistes de l’enclave côtière et au-delà.

    On parlait aussi, à l’époque, de la mise en œuvre d’un accord entre le Hamas et l’Égypte pour améliorer les relations et alléger le blocus égyptien de la bande côtière. L’accord, qui porte sur les mesures que le Hamas doit prendre pour empêcher l’infiltration des Salafistes vers et hors du Sinaï – où le mécontentement contre la domination du Caire s’est transformé en une véritable insurrection au cours des quatre dernières années, – a été renforcé par l’accord d’unité préliminaire entre le Fatah et le Hamas, élaboré avec la médiation de l’Égypte et annoncé le 12 octobre.

    C’était précisément une de ces infiltrations que tentaient d’empêcher Nidal et son équipe, dont son neveu, Salem al- Jaafari, 26 ans. Ils ont attrapé l’un des deux hommes équipés d’armes légères à l’entrée d’un petit tunnel près de la frontière. L’homme a déclenché sa ceinture explosive et il a tué Nidal et lui-même. Salem a été blessé.

    L’autre infiltré avait été appréhendé et désarmé quelques instants plus tôt, comme l’a expliqué Salem à Riziq al-Jaafari, 36 ans, le frère aîné de Nidal, administrateur au Collège Dar al-Nahdah à Rafah.

    « J’espère que [le Hamas] frappera durement ces extrémistes et les chassera de Gaza », a déclaré Riziq, visiblement très en colère, à the Electronic Intifada.
    La riposte du Hamas a été immédiate. Le lendemain de l’incident, les forces de sécurité du Hamas, aidées par les Brigades Qassam, ont lancé une opération de répression des groupes salafistes à Gaza, en se concentrant sur les villes méridionales de Rafah et Khan Younis.

    Les bureaux de deux groupes salafistes opérant à Gaza – l’État islamique de Gaza, considéré comme affilié à l’État islamique, et l’Armée de l’Islam, considérée comme proche d’Al-Qaïda – ont été fermés et plusieurs de leurs membres arrêtés.

    Ahmad Abu Naji, un officier du service de la sécurité intérieure de Gaza, a confirmé que l’opération comprenait également des raids sur des maisons et des camps d’entraînement affiliés à des militants salafistes. Il a dit que des dizaines de personnes avaient été arrêtées, en particulier dans le quartier de Tal al-Sultan à Rafah, où habitait Mustafa Kullab, le terroriste qui a commis l’attentat-suicide.

    « Tous ceux qui étaient proches de lui ou qui venaient chez lui ont été arrêtés », a déclaré Abu Naji à The Electronic Intifada.
    Akram Attalla, analyste politique et chroniqueur au journal al-Ayyam, pense qu’Israël finance l’État islamique au Sinaï pour saper l’autorité du Hamas.

    « Israël est conscient que les Palestiniens se sont adaptés aux divisions qui les séparent et au siège de Gaza », a-t-il déclaré à The Electronic Intifada. « Par conséquent, Israël tente de créer des groupes qui peuvent nuire au Hamas ».

    Omar Jaara, expert pour les affaires israéliennes et conférencier à l’Université nationale An-Najah en Cisjordanie, est d’accord avec cette analyse. Pour lui aussi, l’État islamique est un « outil contrôlé par Israël pour maintenir l’instabilité » à la frontière avec l’Égypte. La menace croissante que l’EI fait peser sur l’Égypte, a-t-il ajouté, est un « joker » qu’Israël peut utiliser contre le Hamas.

    Ahmed Yousef, qui conseillait Ismail Haniyeh quand il était premier ministre à Gaza, a supplié Le Caire de comprendre que c’est l’isolement et le désespoir qui sont largement à l’origine de cet extrémisme à Gaza. Alléger le blocus de Gaza est essentiel si l’on veut stabiliser la situation et cela servirait les intérêts des Égyptiens comme des Palestiniens.

  • Le Hamas et le Fatah ont conclu un accord au Caire
    Par RFI Publié le 12-10-2017
    De notre correspondant à Jérusalem, Guilhem Delteil

    Après deux jours de discussions au Caire, les deux partis rivaux palestiniens, le Fatah et le Hamas sont parvenus à un accord de réconciliation. C’est ce qu’a annoncé le chef de file du Hamas, Ismaïl Haniyeh, avant que le président de l’Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas, ne salue l’accord.

    L’accord entre le Hamas et le Fatah trouvé ce 12 octobre au Caire reste intérimaire. Les questions les plus épineuses entre les deux partis n’ont toujours pas été abordées. C’est le cas notamment de l’avenir des 25 000 hommes des brigades Ezzedine al-Qassam, le bras armé du Hamas. Le mouvement islamique refuse d’envisager un désarmement alors que le président de l’Autorité palestinienne exclut de reproduire le modèle du Hezbollah, en référence à cette milice chiite considérée comme un Etat dans l’Etat au Liban.

  • For first time, Hamas prepared to accept pre-1967 borders for Palestinian state -
    Hamas soon expected to approve document summarizing the organization’s political and strategic positions, including declaring its independence from any outside party such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Jack Khoury Mar 09, 2017
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    Hamas is formulating a new outline of its policies, which will reportedly include an acceptance in principle of Palestine within the 1967 borders but not a recognition of Israel. According to reports, the document will also state that the organization was not a part of the Muslim Brotherhood.
    According to the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, sources in Hamas say that officials from the organization’s political bureau, Chairman Khaled Meshal and his deputy Ismail Haniyeh, as well as other officials from the military and political leadership, were involved in formulating and amending the document, which is still being worked on. Final approval is expected at the end of this month or early next month, when the Hamas internal elections for the political bureau and Shura Council conclude.
    >> Get all updates on Israel and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    The report says the document will make clear that Hamas is an independent organization not tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, and this will help it in its contacts with the Egyptian authorities who are demanding that Hamas be fully disconnected from the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt.
    Hamas officials believe acceptance of the principle of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders will help it break the boycott from foreign countries and international organizations.

    Sources in Hamas say that the document will define the fight against Israel as a fight against the occupation and not against Jews, whereas the organization’s platform that was passed 29 years ago defined Hamas as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, defined the Palestinian issue as a religious issue and said that the struggle was against the Jews.

    An official with the political wing of Hamas in Gaza told Haaretz that the document that will be approved in the coming weeks will not present new positions, but will summarize positions and principles that came up over the last few years, in the talks for reconciliation and understandings with the other various Palestinian factions, and in the talks with Egypt and other Arab countries.
    “Anyone who has followed the statements of Khaled Meshal and the Hamas leaders will not find anything different, but in light of the major changes that have occurred in the region and within the Palestinian arena, Hamas has formulated this document to stand as an ID card for the movement and its principles,” the official said.
    Last month, Hamas completed its internal elections in Gaza, including the election of Yahya Sinwar as Hamas head in Gaza, and by early next month should complete its election process abroad. In the West Bank, it is not certain there will be such an election, due to organizational difficulties presented by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
    Haniyeh is widely expected to be elected head of the political bureau in place of Meshal who is stepping down, and Hamas will try to present an agenda that will help its standing in relation to the international community and Arab countries, chiefly Egypt.
    At this stage it is not clear how much Hamas wants to end its rift with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, but it is possible that its agreement to a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders and defining the fight against the occupation in terms of a popular resistance alongside the military struggle, could serve as a basis for national agreement with the other factions, especially Fatah.

  • Qatar pledges $4 million to alleviate Gaza electricity crisis
    Jan. 15, 2017 10:14 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 15, 2017 10:14 P.M.)

    RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The government of Qatar has pledged to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to provide $4 million over the span of three months to help alleviate the electricity crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Sunday.

    Hamdallah said that a Qatari official contacted him saying that the funds would go to cover the costs of fuel needed to operate the Gaza Strip only power plant for more than eight hours a day, crediting the Qatari decision to efforts led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

    Earlier on Sunday, Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani met with senior Hamas figure Ismail Haniyeh in Doha, and reportedly gave orders to Qatari officials to immediately intervene in the ongoing electricity crisis in the blockaded Palestinian territory, which has seen its already direly limited access to power further diminished in the past month.

    Both Hamdallah and Haniyeh thanked Qatar for its support of the Palestinian people.


  • Is Fatah reconciliation underway ahead of local elections?

    It seems difficult to talk about efforts for internal Fatah reconciliation without discussing the Palestinian preparations for the local elections to be held Oct. 8, in light of Hamas’ high competitiveness and Fatah’s and Israel’s concerns about an expected victory for Hamas. These concerns are justified by the ongoing internal division within Fatah, which prompted the Fatah movement to seek reconciliation between Abbas and Dahlan to unify the movement’s ranks and guarantee a win in the upcoming local elections.

    A Palestinian minister told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “The last meeting held by Fatah’s Central Committee on Aug. 30 addressed the Egyptian and Arab efforts for reconciliation between Abbas and Dahlan. The meeting even discussed possible scenarios, which included Dahlan’s apologizing to Abbas for accusing him of financial corruption on several occasions. Some Fatah leaders are expected to visit Cairo in early September to discuss the terms of reconciliation, while Fatah’s leadership has agreed in principle on the return of certain members close to Dahlan who were dismissed in recent years. If the efforts succeed, Dahlan will arrive in Ramallah in a few weeks, but maybe not before the election take place on Oct. 8.”

    For its part, Hamas did not issue an official statement and did not comment on the Arab and Egyptian efforts to achieve reconciliation within Fatah. Hamas may be aware that reconciliation may strengthen Fatah and give it a lifeline to win in the upcoming local elections.

    Ahmed Youssef, former Undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former political adviser to deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, told Al-Monitor, “Hamas sees in any internal Palestinian reconciliation a national goal that must be encouraged and supported. Division among Palestinians only serves Israel, and any Arab step aiming at reconciliation within Fatah pleases us. We hope that this reconciliation would be followed by steps toward strengthening our project and national goals.”

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  • Unarmed Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces at military post near Ramallah
    Aug. 26, 2016 1:06 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 26, 2016 6:17 P.M.)

    RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A reportedly unarmed Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces at a military post near the illegal Israeli Ofra settlement at the western entrance to the town of Silwad in northeastern Ramallah on Friday, contradicting earlier reports by Israeli media that he had opened fire at soldiers.

    An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers stationed at a military post in Silwad identified a suspect on foot running toward them.

    The Israeli soldiers “shot towards the suspect, resulting in his death,” the spokesperson said.

    No injuries among Israeli soldiers were reported by the army.

    Medics from the Palestinian Red Crescent who had arrived at the scene were reportedly prevented from accessing the site by Israeli forces.

    Initial reports from Hebrew media, however, said the suspect had opened fire from inside a vehicle, and that a woman might have been inside the car with him.

    According to reports, witnesses said that he was shot and critically injured while inside his vehicle, and was later pronounced dead.

    When asked about the conflicting reports, and whether or not the suspect had been armed, the Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an the details of the incident were still being checked.

    The suspect was later identified by local sources in the Ramallah area as 38-year-old Iyad Zakariya Hamed . He was married and a father of three.

    Israeli news site Ynet quoted an anonymous Palestinian official as saying that Hamed suffered from mental illness and was not found to have any weapons on his person when searched, and no signs of gunfire were found on the guard post.


    • Israel investigating claim unarmed Palestinian was shot in the back
      Aug. 28, 2016 11:47 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 28, 2016 1:53 P.M.)

      BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli army’s military police have reportedly opened an investigation into the killing of an unarmed Palestinian man who was shot dead by Israeli forces on Friday, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an.

      Thirty-eight-year-old Iyad Zakariya Hamed, a resident of the Ramallah area village of Silwad, was shot dead by Israeli forces near a military post at the village’s entrance not far from the illegal Israeli settlement Ofra, when soldiers alleged that they saw Hamed “charging” towards them.

      Israeli media initially reported that Hamed, a husband and father of three, fired shots at the Israeli soldiers, though it was later confirmed that he was unarmed.

      According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, any death of a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank who was “not involved in actual fighting” warrants an Israeli military police investigation, and that the investigation into Hamed’s killing will look into the activity of the soldiers responsible — who were members of the “ultra-orthodox” Kifr Brigade — before they opened fire, and why they fired deadly shots at Hamed when “danger was not immediately clear.”

      In addition, the investigation will look into the claim from Palestinian medical officials that Hamed was shot in the back. The officials also reportedly said that Hamed had mental disabilities and had been receiving psychiatric treatment.

      The Israeli army has maintained however, that Hamed was running toward the military post when the soldiers opened fire.

    • Israel: Where the media will blindly buy what the ruling authorities dictate
      By Gideon Levy | Aug. 27, 2016 | 11:56 PM
      A thousand reports are published about every West Bank settler who is murdered, yet Friday’s killing of an innocent man evoked one big yawn. It’s not terror, or apartheid, or racism or dehumanization. It’s only killing a subhuman.

      It was late in the morning. In Israel people were completing their preparations for Shabbat. The military reporters bought challahs, the soldiers left their bases for the weekend. At the Yabrud checkpoint in the West Bank their colleagues saw a man. Actually, they didn’t see a man. They saw a subhuman. They shot him as they were taught. The military reporters reported also as taught: “A terrorist fired a weapon at a pillbox post in Ofra. Nobody was hurt. The force fired back and the terrorist was killed.”

      Routine. There is no contradiction between “nobody was hurt” and “the terrorist was killed.” Only Jews can be hurt. An update followed: “The Kfir squad commander, who saw the terrorist throw a firebomb at an IDF pillbox in Silwad, shot and killed him. Nobody was hurt.” Now the shooting had turned into “a firebomb.” A short time later, it was reported: “Apparently, he was mentally unstable. A search on his body resulted with no findings.” In other words, murder.

      This is what Channel 10 reporter Or Heller tweeted on Friday, as did some of his colleagues, including Alon Ben-David. Heller is far from the worst of the military reporters, who recite automatically whatever the army spokesman dictates to them without attributing the quote to the spokesman, and consider themselves journalists.

      There is no other coverage area in which journalists can act like that. They buy blindly, fervidly, what the ruling authorities dictate to them. The lies about what happened on Friday at the Yabrud checkpoint were spread by the IDF, of course. Afterward the IDF corrected itself, and only after that did the reporters follow suit and report: “the Palestinian didn’t try to attack the soldiers.” Good evening and Shabbat Shalom.

      It was late in the morning. Iyad Hamed, of Silwad, was on his way to Friday prayers in the mosque. Years ago he hurt his head in a traffic accident and since then had been mentally unstable. He was 38, a father of three, including a baby. A witness who testified to B’Tselem Saturday, Iyad Hadad, said Hamed had lost his way, panicked when he saw the soldiers at the checkpoint and ran. He ran for his life. He wasn’t armed, he endangered no one.

      Paramedic Yihia Mubarak believes he was shot in the back as he ran. He saw an entry wound in the victim’s back and an exit wound in his chest. Hamed died on the spot. Shortly afterward his body was returned. Israel’s lust for bodies was satiated this time, after it transpired that Hamed had been killed although he had done nothing wrong.

      A dead Arab. Oh well. We’ve moved onto other, more interesting and important matters. When a single Qassam rocket from Gaza lands, without hurting anyone or causing any damage, Israel launches a revenge campaign of bombardments and shelling, sowing devastation and horror. It’s allowed to do anything. The disappointed military reporters provoke the defense minister, asking, “why only real estate?” And what about Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, whom Avigdor Lieberman had promised to assassinate?

      Israel is allowed to do anything. Are the Palestinians allowed to take revenge for the killing of their friend? What a ludicrous question. Are they allowed to try to “deter” IDF soldiers, as Israel does with Hamas, so that they don’t kill innocent passersby again? Another ludicrous question. Will anyone be punished for this killing? An even more ludicrous question.

      If an Israeli dog had been killed by a Palestinian assailant, Israel would have been much more shocked than by Hamed’s killing. A thousand reports are published about every West Bank settler who is murdered, yet Friday’s killing of an innocent man evoked one big yawn. It’s not terror, or apartheid, or racism or dehumanization. It’s only killing a subhuman.

      I was in Silwad about nine months ago, after Border Policemen killed Mahdia Hamed, a 40-year-old mother of four. The Border Policemen claimed she had tried to run them over with her car, but eyewitnesses testified she had been driving slowly. At home, her 10-month-old infant was waiting to be breast-fed.

      They shot her several times and the bullets pierced and ran through her body. Nobody was put on trial. The widower, Adiv Hamed, asked me then, in his naivety: “Do the Israelis know what happened? Was there a public debate in Israel after she was killed?”

      I was silent with shame.

    • A mentally disabled Palestinian shot dead by Israeli troops for behaving strangely
      ’Let’s say Iyad was behaving strangely. Why kill him?’ his brother ponders. ’When they grow up, Iyad’s children are liable to hate Israel, and with good reason. You killed their father.’
      By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac | Sep. 2, 2016 | 4:39 PM | 5

      The man who was shot to death last Friday by a soldier from the Kfir Brigade’s ultra-Orthodox Netzach Yehuda Battalion was 38 and the father of two small children, a son and a daughter, who were this week scurrying around the living room of their house, in a state of bewilderment, she in a purple skirt, he in shorts. Their father, Iyad Hamed, had a congenital mental disability: Introverted and taciturn, he was prone to stare at the ground as he walked. He enjoyed communing with nature and picking figs and almonds. Still, there was structure in his life: He had a wife and children, and worked in construction in a simple job. “He wasn’t the sharpest of people,” his brothers say.

      Footage from the security camera of the grocery store in Silwad, a village near Ramallah, shows his last minutes. Hamed, in a light-colored shirt, is seen buying snacks for his children and paying. A few moments later, he sets out for a mosque for the Friday prayers, never to return. Nothing in the footage hints at what is about to happen: A father buys treats for his children in the final hour of his life.

      Most of Hamed’s family is in America, as are many of the natives of this well-to-do village. Ten years ago, his six brothers moved to Ohio – to Columbus and Cleveland – where they work in real estate. Iyad, the eldest, remained in Silwad, as did his sister. He started a family, but recently decided to emigrate, as well; one of his brothers said he’d submitted a petition to the authorities to that end.

      He lived on the ground floor of the family’s stone house. The building is handsome, though less splendid than other mansion-type dwellings in this elegant neighborhood on a hill. The second floor is used by the brothers and their families during their annual vacations here. This summer they visited twice: once on holiday and then not long afterward – to mourn and grieve for their dead brother.

      Their parents divide their time between America and Silwad, some of whose privately owned land was taken to build the settlement of Ofra. Many residents of this well-to-do village have moved in recent years to the United States.

      Last December, Border Police shot and killed another Silwad resident, Mahdia Hammad, a 40-year-old mother of four, claiming that she was trying to run them over. Now the army has killed Iyad Hamed without any apparent reason: He wasn’t armed and didn’t pose a threat to anyone.

      The Israel Defense Forces itself admits that.

      The killing took place at the edge of the village, not far from Highway 60, a former venue for demonstrations and stone throwing. The demonstrations ceased in the past month, under pressure from locals, who are tired of the tear gas and the upheaval. Five Silwad residents were killed in the past year by Israeli troops.

      We are standing next to a mound of stones where Hamed collapsed, bleeding, last Friday. He’d come this far, after dropping off the snacks for the kids at home, on his way to a mosque in the neighboring village of Yabrud, where he prayed on Fridays. He preferred it to the mosques in Silwad.

      On the way, he stopped at the Silwad gas station to say hello to his friend Rashad, who works there. The gas station’s security camera caught him again. He then went on his way to Yabrud, which is located on the other side of Highway 60. He could have used the passage beneath the road but opted for the shorter route, which passes next to a towering, armored IDF pillbox.

      It was about 11:40 A.M. On the other side of the road, Abdel Hamid Yusuf, a solidly built young man of 26, was driving his sewage tanker to the site where he empties it. An eyewitness to the events, he is now standing with us at the place where Hamed was killed, along with Iyad Hadad, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

      Hamed was behaving oddly, recalls Yusuf, who knew him well and was aware of his condition. Hamed seemed to have lost his way and also his senses; he ran back and forth below the army tower. Yusuf says he saw no soldiers while Hamed was running about between it and the surrounding barbed-wire fences. Hamed looked frightened. He had wanted to cut across the highway to the mosque, but couldn’t find his way out. He was like a caged animal; the barbed-wire fences were impassable. “It’s dangerous there, get out!” Yusuf shouted to him from across the road. Hamed didn’t respond – maybe he didn’t hear Yusuf.

      It’s crucial to note that Hamed was not holding anything in his hands. That is confirmed by Yusuf and by what the footage from the gas station’s camera shows: an unarmed civilian in a light-colored shirt, who apparently got confused and lost his way.

      Suddenly a few shots rang out. Hamed started to run frantically back toward the village. It’s not clear where the shots came from, but immediately afterward Yusuf saw a few soldiers emerge from the vegetation at the foot of the tower. Hamed kept running. More shots were fired at him, apparently by the soldiers, who had been in ambush. He was hit and fell to the ground. One bullet entered his back and exited through his chest, paramedic Yahya Mubarak, who took possession of the body, would report afterward.

      A., who lives in apartment No. 9 in the nearby Hurriya Tower building in Silwad, went out to his balcony when he heard shooting. What he told the field researcher corroborated Yusuf’s account: Hamed ran for his life until he was felled.

      Four soldiers rolled Hamed’s body over with their feet. He probably died instantly, though that’s not certain. An Israeli ambulance arrived about 15 minutes later, but Yusuf says he couldn’t see whether Hamed received medical aid. More troops arrived in a silver-gray civilian car. The body lay on the ground for some time before being removed by soldiers. A few hours later, the body was returned to the family, after it became clear to the IDF – which is rarely in a hurry to give back bodies – that Hamed had done nothing wrong and was killed in vain.

      The cardboard packages that contained IDF-issue bullets are scattered on the ground where Hamed went down. An IDF officer approaches us from the direction of the tower, and four soldiers emerge out of nowhere from another direction. Minutes later, another group of soldiers comes up from the valley. Maybe one of them killed Hamed?

      The soldier who fired the shot that killed him was questioned this week by the Military Police on suspicion of causing death by negligence and then sent back to his unit. He wasn’t so much as suspended from his duties.

      In the house of mourning is the father, Zakariya, 58, dignified and wearing a stylized embroidered galabia. With him are two of his sons, Yahya, 34, from Columbus, and Ahmed, 31, from Cleveland. Hamed’s fatherless offspring, 9-year-old Zakariya and 3-year-old Lian, are with their mother, newly widowed Narmine.

      “Come on, we are human beings, we don’t get shot at like that,” Yahya says. “Come on, we have kids. The soldier took a human life. It made me want to throw up when I read the reports of what happened in [the newspaper] Yedioth Ahronoth.”

      When they were here a month ago, on vacation, the brothers brought new clothes for Iyad as gifts. Iyad hadn’t worn them yet; he was saving them for Id al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice. Now he will never wear them, “because some soldier decided to kill him.” The faces of the brothers are contorted in grief again.

      Yahya: “Let’s say Iyad was behaving strangely. Why kill him? Shoot him in the leg. Why kill him? You’re not God. In the first intifada, they shot at the legs. You could talk with the soldiers. Now you reach a hand toward your pocket, and they kill you. Do you know what a tragedy the soldier who killed my brother caused? How many families he destroyed?”

      The children cuddle up to their two uncles. Lian blows up a balloon and floats it in the room. She has lazy eye, and wears thick glasses. She’s scheduled to have an operation for the condition in a few weeks; her father will not be there to accompany her.

      Yahya, who reads the English-language edition of Haaretz in the United States on his phone, says, “The children know that a Jewish soldier killed their father,” he says. “When they grow up, they are liable to hate Israel, and with good reason. You killed their father.

      “We are not a political family,” he continues. “We have never been in prison, we have never thrown a stone. Neither had Iyad. But what love will these children have for Israel when they grow up? You want to live here? Fine. But don’t kill us. Let us live, too. You love life – so do we. Everyone will tell you what a pure soul Iyad was. He never hurt anyone. I’d like to know what [Chief of Staff] Gadi Eisenkot will have to say about this killing. And what the soldier who killed Iyad is feeling. I heard he’s religious. Does that mean he has earlocks?

      “When I accidentally run over a cat on the road, I feel bad for a long time afterward,” Yahya says. “What does the soldier who killed my brother feel now?”

  • Poll: 65% of Palestinians want Abbas out

    If presidential elections were held now, according to the poll, Abbas and two other candidates — Ismail Haniyeh, deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, and Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is currently incarcerated in Israel — would receive 20%, 35% and 40% of the vote, respectively.

    Walid Ladadweh, an official with the Ramallah-based center’s survey research department, told Al-Monitor that the center applies the latest scientific methodologies when conducting its surveys and the margin of error does not exceed 3%. The center chooses the survey sample in cooperation with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. In this particular survey, the sample included 1,270 people from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    Read more:

  • Hamas elections will mark end of Meshaal era

    Meshaal understands his position well. All signs suggest that the era of former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will soon begin. Anyone familiar with the political intrigues and power struggles within the movement knows Haniyeh is Meshaal’s natural successor. He has come a long way since the days when he was Yassin’s right-hand man. His opponents, among them Fatah party officials and senior Israeli intelligence officers, used to belittle Haniyeh and call him the “washer of Ahmed Yassin’s bedpans.”

    Haniyeh is indeed not blessed with a particularly strong backbone, but is endowed with two important traits: charisma and pragmatism. His fiery speeches and relatively moderate political approach — which attracted supporters from outside Hamas, too — led him to the top of the Hamas ballot in the 2006 elections. Nonetheless, over the years Haniyeh learned that moderate and pragmatic stands would not take him far in a movement whose powerful military wing has the final say. He thus became increasingly aggressive and militant until fully aligning himself with the most radical of Hamas leaders.

    Read more:

  • Toddlers burn to death in Gaza blaze blamed on power cuts | Middle East Eye | Mohammed Omer |
    Saturday 7 May 2016

    AL-SHATI REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza - The toddlers’ bed stands in the middle of the ash-scorched and smoke-stained room. Next to it lie the bodies of Yousra , aged three, Rahaf , aged two, and Naser al-Hindi , six months old, who all burnt to death here.

    The three bodies are distorted and unrecognisable. A few scorched toys are scattered around them while their heartbroken father, Mohammed al-Hindi, looks on in shock, hardly able to accept they are really his children.

    Walking through the once colourful small apartment in al-Shati, one of the poorest refugee camps in Gaza, it is almost impossible to tell which room was once the kitchen, the bedroom and the toilet because everything has melted into one.

    When the building caught fire late on Friday night, no one living nearby was able to break in, with neighbours eventually smashing a hole through the wall in a failed attempt to rescue the children.

    The deaths of the children has enraged local residents who believe that the fire is a cruel consequence of the impact of the decade-long blockade by Israel and Egypt and a local power struggle between Hamas and Fatah which has made living conditions increasingly intolerable.

    The incident has also reminded Gazans of the case of a family in the eastern city of Shejayeh who were burnt to death in a fire caused by a candle three years ago.

    Mahmood Dhier, 32, his wife Samar, and their four children, Mahmoud, six, Nabil, five, Farah, four, and Qamar, four months, all died in the blaze.


    • Hamas: Israel and its ’accomplices’ responsible for death of 3 siblings in Gaza fire
      May 7, 2016 5:28 P.M. (Updated: May 8, 2016 2:09 P.M.)

      GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A senior Hamas official blamed Israel and its “accomplices” — an implicit jab at the Palestinian Authority — for the house fire that killed three siblings and left three others seriously burned on Friday night in al-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

      On Saturday during the funeral for the three children, Ismail Haniyeh said: “The enemy’s warplanes have been burning lands and houses, while Israel’s crippling siege imposed on Gaza and its accomplices are now burning our children.”

      The house fire was caused by candles that the family used during a power cut, Gaza’s civil defense services told Ma’an Friday. Local medical sources identified the victims as three-year-old Yusra Muhammad Abu Hindi , two-year-old Rahaf Muhammad Abu Hindi , and two-month-old Nasser Muhammad Abu Hindi .

      “Should Gaza — whose people live under a crippling blockade — be blamed?” he asked, likely implying that Hamas, the Gaza Strip’s de facto ruling party, could not be held responsible for the besieged coastal enclave’s energy crisis.

      “Who has been taking $70 million dollars a month in taxes from Gaza? Who has been collecting fuel taxes? Who refused to enlarge the power supply from Egypt to the Gaza Strip and refused to build a pipeline to provide Gaza’s power station with gas to increase its capacity?” Haniyeh continued, listing a set of policy decisions imposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

  • Un responsable du Hamas annonce un accord sur la création d’un port à Gaza
    Par Cyrille Louis Mis à jour le 21/04/2016

    (...) Le Hamas, qui réclame depuis une dizaine années la levée du blocus sur la bande de Gaza, n’affiche pas souvent un tel optimisme. Selon Ahmed Youssef, un ancien conseiller du premier ministre Ismaïl Haniyeh qui compte parmi les voix influentes du mouvement islamiste, « il est maintenant certain qu’un port maritime va être construit ». « Les dirigeants turcs et israéliens sont tombés d’accord sur le principe lors d’une réunion qui s’est tenue à Londres le 7 avril dernier », croit-il savoir, tout en reconnaissant qu’« un certain nombre de détails concernant la sécurisation des installations doivent encore être finalisés. » Le scénario privilégié consisterait à mettre en place une liaison maritime directe entre l’enclave palestinienne et la partie du territoire chypriote que contrôle la Turquie.(...)

    #port_de_Gaza # ??

  • Is Hamas on the offensive or defensive? - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

    Within the movement itself, there is an enormous power struggle underway between the military wing and a divided political wing. The same senior officer from the Southern Command came up with an original way to explain it. He said that Hamas’ military commander Mohammed al-Deif turned people such as senior Hamas official and former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh into preachers who have no influence in the mosques.

    The same internal power struggle existed in the time of Jabari, who threatened the movement’s leaders whenever they did something that he didn’t like.

    Beyond all that, Hamas is also preparing for the “Day of Judgment,” when the movement is forced to break the siege on Gaza, after Israel or Egypt decides to tighten it.

    Read more:

  • Undeterred by closures, Hamas still boasts of tunnel advantage - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

    On Jan. 29, speaking to thousands of mourners at the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza City for the funeral of seven al-Qassam Brigades fighters killed, Ismail Haniyeh, the deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, stated that the tunnels have become a strategic weapon.

    Haniyeh said in his speech, "The tunnels played a crucial role in our victory. It is from these tunnels that the mujahedeen carried out the Nahal Oz operation. From these tunnels, the mujahedeen captured Israeli soldier Oron Shaul and fought the Israeli occupation from ground zero. … The mujahedeen went behind enemy lines … and returned safely to their bases.”

    Read more:

  • On its 51st anniversary, is Fatah facing identity crisis? - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

    The Fatah gestures toward Hamas appear to have produced some positive feedback. While the Hamas leadership in Gaza continues to ban large public celebrations of Fatah’s anniversary, one of the moderate Hamas leaders has taken the extraordinary step of publicly congratulating Fatah on its anniversary.

    On his Facebook page, Ahmad Yousef, a former adviser to Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh, wished Fatah success in its efforts for reconciliation. “Political disagreements might have kept us apart, but we should work together hand in hand for a better national and social future.”

    Many saw in this statement a positive hint toward an end to the split and the opening of a new page between the two movements with the beginning of the new year.

    Read more:

  • Jailed Palestinian leader calls for armed resistance - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

    Palestinian public opinion polls conducted in the occupied territories continuously show that if allowed to run for president, Barghouti would win handily against any other candidate. In the latest poll conducted in September by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, immediately after the end of the war on Gaza, Barghouti polled 48% while Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh polled at 46%, although the same Hamas official received 55% when the public was asked to evaluate him against current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who at the time received 36%.

    Read more:

  • Hamas, Fatah sign reconciliation agreement -
    By Jack Khoury and Barak Ravid | Apr. 23, 2014 |

    Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a historic reconciliation deal on Wednesday, nearly seven years after a schism between the rival Palestinian factions.

    The reconciliation deal is based primarily on the agreements signed by the factions in Cairo and in Doha.

    Addressing reporters in Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said he was “happy to declare the end of the period of inter-Palestinian division.”

    According to Haniyeh’s statement to reporters, under the deal the two sides must uphold past agreements, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will form an interim unity government within five weeks, followed by elections in six months.

    The vote for president, the legislative council and the Palestine Liberation Organization will take place at the same time, according to the deal. The final date of elections will be set by Abbas. A special PLO committee will meet within five weeks to discuss what is expected of the organization from the initiation of the agreement.

    The head of Fatah’s delegation for unity talks Azzam Al-Ahmad said, “We agreed to implement all the articles that were agreed in the past according to agreements in Doha and Cairo.”

    Earlier Wednesday, Mounib Al-Masri, a member of Abbas’ delegation in the Gaza Strip, said that the two sides had reached an agreement on all of the issues, including holding elections within six months.

    According to Palestinian sources, Abbas will publish two presidential decrees on Wednesday evening regarding the formation of the new government and the calling of elections. Sources in Ramallah say that Abbas will head the government and that his deputies will be Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Haniyeh. The possibility of an independent figure close to Hamas being tasked with forming the government has not been dismissed.

    The two sides have still not agreed on a few issues, including the future of Hamas’ security forces, which were created after the Islamist group seized power in a bloody 2007 coup in the Gaza Strip. It is not yet clear whether Hamas will agree to dismantle the forces or to allow them to be under the supervision and command of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces.

  • #Palestinian_Authority, #Hamas working to form unity government

    Palestinians wave their national flag as they demonstrate outside the home of Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister in the Gaza Strip prior to his meeting with members of the #Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) delegation and leaders of Palestinian factions in Gaza City on April 22, 2014. (Photo: AFP - Mahmoud Hams)

    Rival Palestinian leaders from the West Bank and Gaza Strip have decided to form a government of national unity within the “next five weeks”, officials said early on Wednesday. The agreement, between members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hamas, was reached following talks in Gaza City which began on Tuesday evening, a member of the PLO who wished to remain anonymous told AFP. "There has also been progress on the holding of future (...)

    #Israel #Top_News