Saturday, September 24, 2005
In response to the recent salvo of Kassam rockets against southern Negev communities, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz instructed the Air Force to continue its offensive targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad infrastructure in the Gaza strip and West Bank. Shortly afterwards the IAF launched missile strikes near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip at a number of Kassam launch-sites, the army said.
. . .Hamas claimed the attacks were in retaliation for the explosion of a truck carrying Kassam rockets during a rally in the Jebaliya refugee camp, killing 17. Hamas blamed the blast on Israel, but the IDF strictly denied any involvement.
. . .In a first response Saturday, Israel fired missiles at three suspected Hamas weapons workshops in Gaza and sealed the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The buildings were located in the Jebaliya refugee camp, the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City and downtown Gaza City.
Declaring an all out war on Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist infrastructure, Mofaz ordered Air Force operations to continue its offensive in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Mofaz also ordered the army to concentrate forces opposite the northern Gaza security fence, to be prepared to launch ground operations in the event that the situation further deteriorates.
At the same time, the defense minister demanded that the Palestinian Authority deploy its security forces in the northern Gaza area to prevent terror cells from perpetrating attacks against Israel. . . .
With Arieh O'Sullivan and AP
Islamic Jihad terrorists launched ten Kassam rockets at the western Negev Friday afternoon. The rockets landed in open fields, and no damage or injuries were reported. Israel has not responded.
Security forces found one of the rockets in a field near the security fence, a military spokesman said. The rockets landed in the fields of Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the town of Sderot.
Israel again warned the Palestinian Authority (PA) that it has 'zero tolerance' for assaults on its citizens and will retaliate if terrorists attack. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, reminded by a television reporter earlier this month that the same warning has been issued before without any military reprisals, said, 'This time it will be different.'
One hour after the rocket attacks, no government statement was made, and there were no reports of IDF activity reprisals. An Arutz-7 correspondent asked the IDF spokesperson why the army is not responding to this assault on Jewish lives in the Western Negev. She answered, 'The IDF will assess the situation and consider responding.'
Arab terrorists from the Al-Quds Brigades of the Islamic Jihad said the attack was a direct response to the death of three of the gang's terrorists who fought IDF attempts to arrest them early Friday morning in the Tulkarm area in Samaria.
Friday, September 23, 2005
IDF forces arrived at the village where wanted Palestinians were allegedly hiding in a building. Soldiers surrounded the structure and called on the Palestinians to come out, but the armed Palestinians attempted to escape and opened fire at the soldiers; troops return fire, apparently killing two Palestinians
Two armed Palestinians were apparently killed early Friday during a gun battle between IDF forces and wanted Palestinians in the village of Ilar, north of Tul Karm. The soldiers were not hurt. Troops will continue to patrol the area.
...IDF forces arrived at the village where the wanted Palestinians were allegedly hiding in a building. Soldiers surrounded the structure and called on the Palestinians to come out, but the armed Palestinians attempted to escape and opened fire at the soldiers. The troops returned fire, killing two of the Palestinians.
...Earlier IDF soldiers shot dead a 19-year-old Palestinian near the Dotan army base. The army said the Palestinian was killed after he ignored soldiers’ warnings and infiltrated the base, while the Palestinians claim he was an innocent passerby. ...On Thursday Israeli forces evacuated the Dotan army base in the northern West Bank, southwest of Jenin, marking the completion of the northern West Bank pullout.
Abu Mazen’s Palestinian Authority purchased some of the banned weapons smuggled into Gaza from Sinai in the last nine days - Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz to Knesset committee
The disclosure means the Palestinian Authority has not only dishonored all the accords reached for Israel's Gaza withdrawal, but actually instigated and funded Palestinian gun-running, at least in part. In his briefing to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Tuesday, Sept 21, Mofaz gave no indication of how Israel meant to handle these violations. He said only that Israel takes an extremely grave view of Egyptian-Palestinian dereliction in curbing the flow of illegal weapons from Sinai into the Gaza Strip.
The minister had hoped not to appear before the parliamentary panel session. He only presented himself when the lawmakers insisted on a full briefing from a member of the government to clear up the vague assertion by AMAN military intelligence officer. Brig. Yossi Kupwasser assured the panel that the Palestinians had not acquired “equalizer-breaker” weapons in the early days of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
DEBKAfile’s military experts conclude that the officerr’s use of the term “equalizer breaker” evaded the real issue. Terrorists do not need tanks to kill large numbers of civilians – whether in Israel or Iraq – but bombs, explosives and Qassam missiles; or an air force to shoot down an El Al passenger plane and restrict the maneuverability of Israel’s reconnaissance drones and helicopters. All the Palestinians need are Strela anti-air missiles. In the last nine days, they have used the open Sinai-Gaza crossing to abundantly restock with upgraded Qassam missiles, smuggled in banned Strela and anti-tank Sagger missiles, and piled up a mountain of explosives and ammunition.
Copyright 2000-2005 DEBKAfile. All Rights Reserved.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Here is my opinion...
The Gaza disengagement affects the Jewish Community of WA in two ways
Jews in WA are affected as are all Jews around the world. We are connected to Israel and concerned for the nation’s welfare. Israel is our spiritual homeland and place of sanctuary. Many of us have relatives who live in Israel. Thus we are very aware of events there and want Israel to be successful, viable and secure. There are many varied opinions within the Jewish Community about the Gaza disengagement.
- Many support it, recognising that it will be easier to protect citizens behind a well-defined demarcation line.
- Another large group believe that it is a flawed decision because it will be seen by some as a vindication of terrorism – proof that terrorism works and can actually win territory. Those terrorists, who believe so, will be encouraged to continue their terror and attempt to expel Jews from the Middle East or even totally wipe out world Judaism in another attempt at genocide.
- Others oppose it on the grounds that they believe the land belongs to Israel and no citizen, or even government has the right to give it away.
However the WA Jewish Community, while it recognises differing opinions here, also recognises that Israel is a democratic nation, and has confidence in its democratic processes. Israel’s citizens are the ones in harm’s way, at war with its neighbours for decades, and therefore they must decide. We in WA will support Israel’s decisions.
Also all members of the community, regardless of their view about the wisdom of unilaterally disengaging, are very saddened by the fact that 8,000 people have been uprooted; their homes destroyed, their communal buildings including places of worship destroyed, and even the remains of their loved ones disinterred and moved with them. It is sad that this is necessary, that our neighbours have so much hatred for us that they continually harass and attack civilians, and that we cannot even rely on them to respect our graves.
As citizens of Australia, a free, democratic Western nation
Jews in WA, like all Australians, respect human life, freedom and democratic rights to determine our own future. The disengagement (whether you agree or disagree with it) reminds us all that there are forces that want to control others by deadly force. Dictators and corrupt, murderous criminals lead whole nations and subversive groups and are working to undermine the values we cherish. Gaza is part of the front in the global war against terrorists and those who want to destroy the Australian way of life. Like all Australians we are watching apprehensively to see if moderate forces in Gaza will disarm the terrorist gangs, establish the rule of law and give the Palestinian population the freedom and self determination that they yearn for and deserve, or whether the forces of armed gangs will use Gaza as a base to amass weapons and continue their attacks on innocent civilians in Israel, USA, Australia UK and around the civilised world.
Barring a last-minute change of heart, the Israeli prime minister plans to retire to his Sycamore Ranch
DEBKAfile’s political sources report that private opinion polls conducted by his team indicated that all critical Likud votes would go against him. Monday, the central committee will decide to bring forward the leadership primary from April to December, as demanded by his rivals Netanyahu and Landau.
He is not expected to fight this decision or respond by setting up a new party alliance. Our Washington sources add that President Bush has been informed of Sharon’s plan to retire.
Copyright 2000-2005 DEBKAfile. All Rights Reserved.
Hamas official says Wednesday the organization may in future amend vow to destroy Israel, hold talks with the state
Hamas could one day amend a charter calling for the destruction of Israel and hold negotiations with the Jewish state, a political leader of the Islamic militant group in the West Bank said.
'The charter is not the Koran,' Mohammed Ghazal told Reuters in an interview in Nablus on Tuesday.
'Historically, we believe all Palestine belongs to Palestinians, but we're talking now about reality, about political solutions ... The realities are different.'
The unprecedented comments by Mohammed Ghazal clashed with recent pronouncements of more senior Hamas officials in Gaza. But they reflected an apparent shift in Hamas toward the political mainstream and to winning greater world acceptance in the run-up to Palestinian parliamentary elections and after Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip.
Talks with Israel?
Ghazal said it was still early to talk about recognizing Israel "while Israel doesn't recognize me as the victim." He said any Hamas talks with Israel would still depend on its withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem to allow an independent state as well as a so called "right of return" for Palestinian refugees who fled in 1948 and their descendants.
He said there was a "strong belief" that those conditions were never likely to be met.
"The Israelis should reach that stage when they feel they should negotiate with us and at that time I don't think there will be a problem of negotiating with the Israelis," said Ghazal. "The idea of negotiating is not something problematic and is not a dogma," he said at his office in an-Najah university, where he is a professor of engineering.
Hamas, a terrorist group blacklisted by the United States and Europe, has been behind suicide bombings and rocket attacks in a Palestinian intifada that began in 2000 after talks collapsed. Unlike the Palestinian Authority of Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas has stood for replacing Israel with an Islamic state rather than a state in peace alongside it.
'If elections delayed, Hamas may establish its own authority'
...Abbas is under pressure from Israel and the United States to start disarming the terror group as part of a peace "road map," and Israel has ruled out statehood talks before then, but Hamas refuses and Abbas has shied from the measure, fearing internal strife.
Objecting to Hamas participation in the parliamentary election, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said Israel could hinder the ballot if Hamas does not disarm and change its charter.
Ghazal said such Israeli statements would only serve to strengthen the Hamas position. He said he still feared that Israel and the United States could press Abbas to put off the already delayed elections given their concerns that Hamas could do well against a dominant Fatah movement weakened by a record of mismanagement and corruption.
But he said that if elections were not held it would delegitimize Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and that in such a case Hamas could move to establish its own authority.
"There will be parallel authorities," he said.
Meanwhile, a senior Hamas official, Said Siyam, told Reuters that the organization has committed itself to ending its 'military marches' in a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza city. But Siyam said that the move did not indicate a future disarming by Hamas.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
"When we come to the other world and meet the millions of Jews who died in the camps and they ask us, 'What have you done?', there will be many answers. You will say, 'I became a jeweler', Another will say, I have smuggled coffee and American cigarettes', Another will say, 'I built houses',
But I will say, 'I didn't forget you'."
Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi Hunter has died in Vienna at the age of 96, the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced today (September 20th).
'Simon Wiesenthal was the conscience of the Holocaust,' said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the International Human Rights NGO named in Mr. Wiesenthal's honor, adding, 'When the Holocaust ended in 1945 and the whole world went home to forget, he alone remained behind to remember. He did not forget. He became the permanent representative of the victims, determined to bring the perpetrators of the history's greatest crime to justice.
There was no press conference and no president or Prime Minister or world leader announced his appointment. He just took the job. It was a job no one else wanted. The task was overwhelming. The cause had few friends. The Allies were already focused on the Cold War, the survivors were rebuilding their shattered lives and Simon Wiesenthal was all alone, combining the role of both prosecutor and detective at the same time.'
Overcoming the world's indifference and apathy, Simon Wiesenthal helped bring over 1,100 Nazi War Criminals before the Bar of Justice....
For biographical information and photographs on Simon Wiesenthal's life, use this link.
A government unit charged with investigating the conduct of the police during the Arab riots of September 2000 has decided not to indict any of the officers involved in quelling the rebellion.
Thirteen Arabs died in riots that broke out shortly after Ariel Sharon, then an opposition member of the Knesset, made a widely publicized visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Most of the Arabs were killed by police gunfire as they tried to suppress the violence mainly in the Galilee and Iron Valley districts in the north.
The unit that specializes in investigating allegations of errant police behavior has concluded that there is no evidence to sustain criminal charges against officers who were involved in putting down the riots.
... the senior officers exonerated of any wrongdoing ...ordered police sharpshooters to take aim at rioters who were throwing rocks at police and civilian targets. Another controversial police official ...also cleared of any wrongdoing...shot at some of the rioters’ lower bodies, and apparently killed a number of rioters ...(was) justified to put down the rebellion.
...Arab response to the investigatory unit’s findings was extremely critical. MK Azmi Bishara said, “the blood of our sons does not run free…From the first moment its was clear that the investigatory unit was sweeping the crimes under the rug instead of investigating them.” Bishara said Israel’s Arab community would respond harshly to the unit’s decision ...(and) threatened to lodge a complaint against police officials in the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
An Arab civil rights group, Adullah, said it will attempt to involve international civil rights organizations in an effort to prosecute police officers who were involved in putting down the Arab riots.
A group representing the families of those killed in the riots accused Israel of being a state that practices “apartheid” with separate laws for Arabs and Jews. “Israel tramples on the law, has contempt for the entire world, and does not hesitate to tread on human rights,” the group said.
Israeli Arab leaders on Monday night decided on a series of measures to protest against the decision of the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Unit to close all the cases against policemen and officers over the killing of 13 Arabs in the October 2000 riots.
Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Hadash) MK Muhammad Barakeh said the minority Arab community in Israel and its leadership would not rest until the report was 'thrown into the dustbin' and the decisions rescinded. 'It is totally unacceptable that people's lives were taken and nobody is being brought to justice for the killings. The lives of Arab citizens cannot be abandoned,' Barakeh told The Jerusalem Post.
He spoke after an emergency meeting of the monitoring committee of the Israeli Arab leadership that was called to decide on measures in light of the decision of the investigations unit. It was agreed ...to begin the protest ...with a mass demonstration outside the Prime Minister's office. Two days later, Israeli Arab leaders, including Knesset members, will pitch a tent in the same spot and begin an indefinite hunger strike.
... protest tents will be established in all the cities, towns and villages where the 12 Arab citizens and a Palestinian were killed in clashes with police during the riots....
... Marches and rallies are planned on October 1 in the various places where the victims were killed to mark the fifth anniversary of the events, as well as a mass parade from Kafr Manda to Sakhnin.
"We understand the significance of this report and the danger it represents to us as citizens as well as to democracy itself and we will not let it pass quietly...No normal, law-abiding society can accept such a report that notes the murder of citizens but finds no-one to blame..."
...Participants at the meeting said they would also take the case to the international courts if their efforts to get justice in Israel proved unsuccessful.
Monday, September 19, 2005
...According to the Daily Telegraph, a Muslim barrister who ‘advises’ the Prime Minister has said that Mr Blair is the victim of a sinister conspiracy between the Freemasons and the Jews, who control him and took us to war in Iraq. ...in Britain you can believe such paranoid, irrational gibberish and not merely be tolerated and excused the eponym ‘barking madman’ but actually be invited to divulge your stupidity to the Prime Minister personally. Because you are a Muslim and such poisonous paranoia is sort of expected from you...you get to have your fantasies indulged.
...Mr Blair’s other Muslim advisers have reportedly told him to scrap the Holocaust Memorial Day because it is offensive to Muslims. ... Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, refused to attend the events organised for Holocaust Memorial Day...his views are bang in line with those of almost all ‘moderate’ Muslim spokespeople. And again, rather than worry a little about Sacranie’s mental health when he boycotts the memorial day or speaks of Osama bin Laden as a respected ‘scholar’, we knight the bugger.
These are strange and disquieting double standards. I can think of no male politician who has been more steadfast in his determination to uproot the ‘hate crime’ of homophobia than the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. ...But he will share a platform with and offer kind words to a stone-age Muslim cleric who is comfortable with the notion of homosexuality being classed as a capital offence....
When Islam appears on the agenda, the goalposts are moved: the normal rational thought processes are not applied. Suddenly those Left-liberal shibboleths are not very important: they can be forgotten. Append the description ‘Muslim’ to anyone and all bets are off; he or she can get away with pretty much anything, be it the execution of homosexuals or the idea that Jews and Freemasons are running the government....
Some Arabs reject their government's friendliness to Jewish State; Egyptian man says Israel can never be trusted, 'treason runs in their blood' Associated Press
While some Arab and Muslim governments may be ready to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel following the Gaza withdrawal, many in the Arab world scorned the idea Friday.
Israel has been reaping diplomatic benefits since it began its now-completed withdrawal weeks ago. Qatar, Pakistan and Indonesia have held high-level public meetings with Israeli officials. On Friday, the king of Jordan, which has a peace treaty with Israel, met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on the sidelines of a U.N. world summit.
After Qatar's foreign minister said Wednesday that Arab nations should reciprocate Israel's Gaza pullout with greater peace steps, many Arabs responded by rejecting any rapprochement with Israel as long as it occupies Palestinian and Syrian land.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss called for an Arab League meeting to take measures to "check this sweeping, ominous tide."
. . .But Qatar's overt gestures may be part of a growing momentum to improve ties with Israel.
'Most would do the same'
Hazem Saghieh, a senior Lebanese columnist with the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, said "most Arab countries, if they can be sure that public reaction can be controlled, would do what Qatar is doing. Some countries who are against this may take a different stand when their turn comes — and have justifications ready for their actions," he said, speaking from London.
Since the Gaza pullout, Arab countries are encouraging efforts to renew and expand peacemaking as a way to ease the Palestinian conflict and blunt the influence of Islamic militants, who are using discontent about the Palestinians and the war in Iraq to stir up unrest worldwide.
At an Arab summit in March, Jordan proposed normalizing relations with Israel before it makes any concessions on Arab land — a major change to the current policy of promising normalization only after a full peace. Arab leaders quickly shot down the idea, but there were reports that several countries, particularly Morocco, Qatar and Oman, were considering moving ahead with ties anyway. . . .
On Thursday — a day after his speech in New York praising the Gaza withdrawal — Qatari Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani told reporters it was possible to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel before the formation of a Palestinian state. Then he held a closed-door meeting with his Israeli counterpart. Some in the Arab world questioned the motives of Qatar, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, saying it was pandering to American wishes.
The United States is making efforts to "end the Arab and Muslim political and economic boycott of Israel" at this week's U.N. General Assembly, said Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanon's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric, during his Friday prayer sermon. "The only condition for America's friendship with any country goes through relations with Israel," he said.
In Yemen, Marwan al-Absi, a 28-year-old photographer, said Qatar is "a tiny nation that wants to be great. ... Qataris love the limelight and they love to please the Americans."
Nadira Omran, a prominent Jordanian actress, said the move was a result of "the absence of Arab values. The Palestinian cause is no longer an Arab priority" . . .
In Egypt — the first Arab nation to make peace with Israel in a 1979 treaty — Sayed Mohammed, a 58-year-old museum employee, rejected any gestures to Israel over the Gaza pullout. "These people can never be trusted. Treason runs in their blood," he said, forcefully shaking his head. "They were occupying a land they're not entitled to. ... It was resistance and foreign pressure that prompted them to withdraw."
Mohsen al-Awajy, an Islamist lawyer in Saudi Arabia, said Arab governments' actions do not reflect their people's wishes. "The masses have chosen their own tools of expression, and Iraq is the best example of that," he added, referring to the anti-U.S. insurgency.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon leaves New York on way back to Israel, prepares for Likud battle against Benjamin Netanyahu. PM's associates confident Sharon will win, dismiss reports he has decided to leave ruling party
Attila Somfalvi, New York
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was scheduled to leave New York Sunday on his way back to Israel, after a week of diplomatic success and a warm reception by world leaders.
. . . Sharon will return . . . to Israel's internal political swamp, which the prime minister left last week, allowing his Likud rivals Benjamin Netanyahu and Uzi Landau to take the stage uninterrupted.
Meanwhile, Sharon's close associates dismissed reports suggesting the prime minister has already decided to leave the ruling Likud party, saying such decision was never taken.
. . . On September 26, members of the Central Committee will be asked to vote on pushing primaries for the party’s leadership forward, in what is seen as a direct challenge aimed at toppling the prime minister.
Sharon’s associates criticized those quoted in the Israeli media as saying the PM decided to leave the Likud and said their comments stemmed from personal motives and caused damage.
. . .During his first days back in Israel, Sharon is expected to mainly deal with political matters and is set to prepare for the Central Committee battle, with the main objective being an attempt to curb the momentum in favor of Netanyahu.
Shalom to back PM
. . .Sources close to Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said he too will undertake efforts to prevent a Likud split and will help Sharon win the upcoming Likud vote. Shalom associates told Ynet the main objective is to reject the proposal to push forward the primaries, thus leaving Sharon as head of the party and the country.
. . .Meanwhile, despite Sharon’s trip, his close advisors and activists within the Likud continued to act intensively in order to ensure his victory. According to estimates, if voter turnout rates are high enough, the Prime Minister will be able to defeat the early primaries proposal on September 26.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Hamas cells may come in through porous Gaza-Egypt border, stage attacks on Israel, security officials warn
Large quantities of weapons, including anti-tank missiles, have been pouring into the Gaza Strip through the porous Egyptian border, IDF and Shin Bet officials warned Friday.
Security officials are concerned that in the coming weeks terror cells will launch Qassam rockets from Gaza and also fear an increase in attempted terror attacks by Hamas cells originating from Rafah that would attempt to reach Israeli population centers through the Egyptian border.
According to intelligence assessments, terror experts are being brought into the Gaza Strip in a bid to recover Palestinian terror capabilities in the near future. According to a senior security official, individuals possessing in depth terror-related knowledge may have entered Gaza in recent days through Rafah.
The security establishment is also concerned about the transfer of raw materials earmarked for the Qassam rocket industry, a move that could boost the range of Qassams and allow them to hit the southern town of Ashkelon, north of Gaza.
“We have prepared and warned this could happen,” sources in the IDF Southern Command said. “To our regret, for the time being the border in Rafah remains porous. If the Egyptians wanted to, they would completely seal off the border within an hour.”
“For the time being, the Egyptians are not doing enough, and in our estimate the quantity of weapons and terror experts who are moving in constitutes a threat that could see a rise in terror from Gaza,” one source said. “Unfortunately, this threat could materialize in the near future.”
Border mayhem continues
Thousands of Palestinians broke through Egyptian and Palestinian Authority lines on the Gaza border for a second day Friday, pouring into Egypt in defiance of government attempts to secure the frontier.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas toured the Rafah border Friday and met with senior Egyptian officials.
“We are working with our brothers, the Egyptians, to close the openings so the situation will be under control in 2-3 days,” he said.
Witnesses reported that armed Palestinians, mainly Hamas and Popular Resistance Committees members, have recently managed to create an additional opening in the fence by ramming a truck into it. Hundreds, and perhaps thousands of Palestinians were able to cross the border before PA police forces were able to control the scene.
Ali Waked contributed to the story
The prime minister's warning to exclude Hamas from the Palestinian elections will make it stronger, says spokesman
Hamas spokesman Moshir al-Masri told Ynet that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's warning to the Palestinian Authority not to include Hamas in the upcoming Palestinian elections would 'only strengthen us.'
Masri was responding to comments made by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who said that Israel would 'make every effort' not to help the Palestinian Authority hold elections if Hamas took part in them.
Masri also said that Hamas's participation in the elections would not spell the end for its war on Israelis.
He added that Hamas was a large and powerful movement, and that no party could ignore it.
"Sharon's words only make us stronger," he said. "We reject this despicable interference by Sharon, and no one will tell us what to do. These things only strengthen our determination and our devotion to our rights," said Masri.
He added: "Sharon's strategy is to split the Palestinian street, but this won't affect our nation which understands that these things were not said out of concern for Palestinian interests. These comments will only make us stronger among our people. We are determined to take part in the elections out of a will to build a new political life, and to build what the Israeli occupation destroyed."
Not giving up on "resistance"
The Hamas spokesman also emphasized that "under no circumstances would we give up on the resistance option, which is our strategic choice. Our people know that this strategy of resistance is what brought us the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, after long years of useless negotiations."
While meeting foreign journalists in New York, Sharon said that if Hamas were to take part in the elections, "We would make every effort not to help them (the Palestinian Authority). I don't think they can hold elections without our help.
Tells U.N.: 'Those who armed the Zionist occupation are trying to prevent others from being armed with peaceful technology,'; says 'Palestine should be freed'
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country had 'the inalienable right to produce nuclear fuel' and accused the United States of violating global nuclear treaties.
'Those who armed the Zionist occupation are trying to prevent other countries from being armed with peaceful technology. There are a few sides who are using threats, and their power to abuse others with the help of their control of the press,' said Ahmadinejad
He did not suffice with attacking Israel, and condemned the host nation, saying that the "the United States violated the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Saddam's regime used chemical weapons against Iran. Who armed him with these weapons?"
Returning to his verbal attack on Israel, Ahmadinejad said, "When the people of Palestine resist the occupation they are accused of terror, while the oppressors are supported, the ones claiming that they are fighting terror. The land of Palestine should be liberated and a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital should be established," said the Iranian president.
He defended his country's nuclear policy, and didn't forget to attack the 'Zionists' here too, saying, "all nations should be allowed to have nuclear fuel. Iran has a right to a nuclear program. A committee should investigate how nuclear means were obtained by the Zionist regime."
Earlier, the Iranian president told CNN that "the United States has bad intentions towards Iran," an hour before his scheduled address to the United Nations.
The Iranian president said he would defend his country's "right" to enrich uranium, and called for the creation of a special U.N. committee to limit the spread of atomic weaponry.
He added that Iran planned to "guard its rights."
Asked whether Iran would use the oil weapon as a political tool in the nuclear dispute, Ahmadinejad said, "I think any intelligent, healthy, smart human being should use every resource in order to maintain his or her freedom and independence."
The foreign ministers of Britain, Germany, and France met with Ahmadinejad on Saturday on the sidelines of the U.N. conference in New York.
During the meeting, British secretary of state Jack Straw said that the countries of the European Union hoped to avoid a need to submit the nuclear issue to the U.N. Security council.
Straw also added that the European countries would decide their next step only after hearing Ahmadinejad's U.N. speech.
There had been some speculation that the Iranian president will, in the course of his speech, suggest new ways to solve the nuclear crisis with the United States and European Union.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said that if diplomatic attempts fail, the Security Council would deal with the crisis.
Yizhak Benhorin contributed to this report
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has threatened to withhold Israeli cooperation if the Islamic militant group Hamas takes part in Palestinian legislative elections, which are due in January.
---Mr Sharon says Israel could choose to leave roadblocks in place in the West Bank, making it difficult for voters to reach polling stations. . . .we completely oppose Hamas's participation in the elections as long as they haven't given up their weapons,' he said. 'In Gaza, we can no longer influence Hamas' participation ... but in other places, we won't cooperate with anything.'
He also says the radical movement, which has been behind most of the suicide bombings in the last five years of violence, needed to change its charter which calls for the destruction of Israel.
The Palestinian leadership has reacted angrily to Mr Sharon's threat. "The Palestinian election is an internal Palestinian issue," Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said.
"All Palestinians have a right to participate in this election and in our political life. I think this is another Israeli tactic to stop the progress in the peace process."
. . .The US appears reluctant to get involved in the dispute, with US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack saying the issue needs to be resolved by the Palestinians.
"Palestinian people will need to resolve the fundamental contradiction of groups wanting to keep one foot in the political process and one foot in the camp of terror," he said. However, he stresses that under terms of the US-backed peace road map, which aims at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Palestinian Authority was obliged "to dismantle terrorist networks".
But he says the US administration will work with both sides "to bridge any differences concerning the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections".