Thursday, October 26, 2006

No excuses for anti-Semitic violence

From a press release by Michael Danby MP Thursday October 26, 2006 ...

“No, Mr Lowenstein, there are no excuses for anti-Semitic violence!”

Michael Danby, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports, has condemned anti-Israel polemicist Antony Lowenstein for his attempt to explain the recent anti-Semitic attacks in Melbourne by blaming them on Israel.

Following the anti-Semitic attack on Menachem Vorchheimer in Melbourne last week, Mr Loewenstein was interviewed by the Geelong Advertiser, and suggested that the attack was caused by Israeli actions. “My feeling is that Israeli actions in Israel and Palestine and more recently Lebanon are clearly related to a rise in anti-Semitic attacks,” he said. [1]

It's no surprise that Mr Loewenstein, who has made a career of attacking Israel and the Australian Jewish community, should now be found blaming Israel for the actions of anti-Semitic yobbos such as those who attacked Mr Vorchheimer, Michael Danby said. This fits in with a pattern of Mr Loewenstein’s behaviour which includes saying about the comedian Sandy Guttman (Austen Tayshus), he said at his website: "Jews are often their own worst enemies. It might help if Tayshus didn't look so much like those awful caricatures we know from the 1930s!"

What can we expect from the author of a book which has been praised by the anti-Semites of the Australian League of Rights? [2] It is disgusting that someone who says he is proud to be a Jew should seek to use this attack to further his ideological campaign against Israel.

...In his Geelong Advertiser interview, Mr Loewenstein denies that there has been a rise in anti-Semitic attacks. “For the Jewish community to say there’s a wave of anti-Semitism occurring is nonsense, it’s just not true,” Mr Loewenstein said.

Michael Danby pointed out that ECAJ’s figures show a clear rise in anti-Semitic attacks and abuse in Victoria this year...."One minute Mr Loewenstein says there is no rise in these attacks, which is untrue, and in the next breath he says that there is a rise in attacks, but that this is due to Israel's actions - which is also untrue," Danby said. Mr Loewenstein should make up his mind. He should also stop trying to drag his campaign of denigration against Israel into every issue that comes along. He should join the rest of the Jewish community, and indeed all decent Australians, in condemning anti-Semitism.

[1] Geelong Advertiser, 21 October 2006[2] Betty Luks, An Australian Jew Confronts the Israel Question,
For more information: Michael Danby on 9534 8126 or email on

Zentai Appeal set for February

From AAP, 25oct06 ...

[Charles Zentai] will have an appeal heard by the full bench of the Federal Court next year.

Charles Zentai, 84, has denied torturing and murdering 18-year-old Jewish man Peter Balazs in Budapest while serving in the army of Hitler's wartime ally, Hungary. His extradition was due to be proceed in the Perth Magistrates Court earlier this year but Mr Zentai ... initiated a Federal Court challenge against the power of West Australian magistrates to deal with commonwealth extradition laws.

.... Mr Zentai's lawyers argued there were constitutional problems with investing state judicial officers with powers to perform "executive'' commonwealth roles.

The Federal Court rejected Mr Zentai's application last month but Mr Zentai is appealing the decision. The appeal was today set down to be heard during the February sittings of the full bench of the Federal Court.

Mr Zentai is scheduled to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on December 11.

Prepare for war

From Ynet News, 25/10/06, by Yaakov Lappin ...

Middle East experts ... warn of 'terrible deterioration' on Israel's northern border

The coming months will present Israel with strategic threats from three different directions, Dr. Boaz Ganor, founder of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism told Ynetnews.

The first threat, stemming from the Shiite alliance of Iran and Hizbullah, will result in "terrible deterioration" on Israel's northern border, according to Ganor.

"The year 2007 is going to be a critical year, as the international arena will do its utmost to narrow down the nuclear capabilities of Iran..... Iran will use its proxy Hizbullah to retaliate against Israel, and make clear that Israel has to pay for any activities against Iran," Ganor added.

Turning to the Palestinian arena, Ganor said that "the Palestinians are now at the stage of shaping their self-identities," a process he described as ultimately "positive." They are torn between "terrorism and violence against Israel...and the "alternative option...based on the idea that "terrorism and violence will never fulfill the Palestinian national interest.....The problem is that this is not a smooth process. It involves battles within the Palestinian arena. And I think in the coming months this may spill over into Israel," Ganor said.

Ganor then pointed out the "third process, which I have to admit that many Israelis, including decision makers and security services in Israel underestimate, is the threat of global jihadists against Israel," posed by al-Qaeda and its affiliates. "In my view, in the coming months, global jihadists will try to launch what we call a major attack against Israel. Zawahiri (deputy leader of al-Qaeda) has announced that. I tend to believe him. The activities of al-Qaeda and global jihadist movements are surrounding Israel, from Sinai, Amman, Jordan, some involvement in Lebanon, and ongoing and growing involvement in Gaza Strip. And it's only a matter of time before they infiltrate Israel soon. So this is in my view a very negative process and I have to admit that… we are under-prepared," Ganor added.

'Very little time until next war'
In a document made available to Ynetnews by Professor Moshe Sharon, an expert on Islamic history at the Hebrew University, Sharon declared that the next war Israel would have to fight was almost here.

"Today it is clear to everyone who is prepared to confront unadorned reality, and they are the majority of people in Israeli society with the wish to live, that we have to take advantage of the short period of time left to us to prepare the army for the inevitable next war. It is already on the way," Sharon wrote.

He added: "Hizbullah is the immediate enemy. No one will disarm it because it has no intention of disarming and there is no one to coerce it to do so. The UN is collaborating with Hizbullah and none of its member nations has any interest in dealing with it."

"The Shiite of Hizbullah has taken control of Lebanon with the generous help of Iran and Syria and it will not relinquish it even if this means bringing about its total destruction. Lebanon will gradually be emptied of its remaining Christian population and zealous Islam will have achieved an important objective: One of the only two non-Muslim countries in the Middle East will just disappear," Sharon said.

"Islam came into being as a fighting religion. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, imposed his authority, first and foremost, by means of his military strength. He understood that even when speaking in the name of Allah, this must be accompanied by tens of thousands of fighters with drawn swords," the professor added.

"The Muslims consider the State of Israel to be an advance position of the "House of War" established on Islamic territory conquered from Islam. Israel, therefore, must first disappear. All paths to that end are legitimate," Sharon said.

Describing peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan as tactical breaks in their war against Israel, Sharon declared: "The Egyptian authorities turn a blind eye, or worse, allow the unimpeded flow of arms, above and below ground, to terrorist organizations in Gaza. Is it necessary to ask, to fight against whom did Egypt create an army of close to a million soldiers?"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jewish Billionaires versus AIPAC

From Israel Insider, October 24, 2006, by Isi Leibler [emphasis added] ...

There are ill winds of change hovering on the horizon. Washington is signaling its intention to distance itself from Israel. Pressures are being imposed on Israel to make further unilateral concessions to Mahmoud Abbas, most of which would directly impact on her security.

The new climate was exemplified in a recent address by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who compared the self-inflicted suffering of the Palestinian people with segregation in the United States and said that "there could be no greater legacy for America" than to bring about "a Palestinian state for a people who have suffered too long, who have been humiliated too long, who have not reached their potential for too long." Rice failed to qualify these remarks by noting that Palestinian "humiliation" and "suffering" would have been averted and a Palestinian state could have been established a long time ago, had they curtailed terror and ceased launching missiles against Israeli civilians, a situation which prevails to this very day.

It was particularly disconcerting that both the impotent Israeli government and the usually highly vocal American Jewish establishment failed to condemn these outrageous remarks. These developments should be viewed in tandem with an intensifying campaign by unrepresentative American left wing Jewish groups publicly urging the US Administration to soften their policies in relation to the Palestinians. ....they call for Washington to become "more involved" and "even handed" in order to bring an end to the "ongoing violence and retribution" -- code language for downplaying terror and incitement which the Abbas factions indulge in no less than their Hamas counterparts. It means urging Israel to negotiate under fire, bring an end to sanctions against the PA, talk to Hamas, and make concessions which will invariably lead to a greater toll in Israeli lives.

Until recently, public support for Israel in the United States had reached an all time high.....Yet storm clouds were brewing. The charges of espionage against AIPAC officers represent an unprecedented affront to an ally. The situation at the campuses where anti Israeli activity has become the central focus point of radical political activism is more than disconcerting. Segments of the US electronic and print media were highly biased in their coverage of the Lebanon war. The brouhaha over the Israel lobby initiated by Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in a Harvard University paper has led to widespread campaigns demonizing AIPAC and other pro Israel lobbies. Tony Judt, the Jewish historian promoting the view that Israel was a mistake and supporting a bi-national Israel-Palestinian entity has provided an aura of respectability to the dismantling of the Jewish state.

These anti Israeli sentiments are now infiltrating into the Democratic Party -- the party favored by the majority of American Jews. Senator Joseph Lieberman, the former Democratic vice president candidate, lost his pre-selection to a relatively unknown leftist who challenged his Middle East policies and obtained the support of a large percentage of Jewish voters. In fact the most troublesome aspect to these trends is not that the public profile of bodies like the Jewish Policy Forum and Brit Zedek V'Shalom calling for more evenhandedness is growing. It is even more worrying that reaction to these activities by all American Jewish agencies... has been extraordinarily muted.

Despite the misleading double-talk, this campaign represents a real and serious threat to Israel. AIPAC is possibly the greatest success story of any American lobbying group. It has one overriding role: To support Israel and Israel government policies. Were AIPAC to initiate policies conflicting or inconsistent with the objectives of the Israel government it would lose its grassroots support overnight. Hence repeated allegations that AIPAC is a "hawkish" body is language designed to undermine AIPAC and support for Israel.

These leftwing bodies have already succeeded in diluting Congressional legislation designed to cut off aid for the Palestinian Authority unless it renounced terrorism. They also provided support to Washington in its efforts to force Israel to make security concessions on border crossings which resulted in a massive flow of arms into Gaza.

Even more alarming was the announcement by George Soros, one of the world's ten wealthiest individuals, that he would employ his financial clout and connections with other Jewish billionaires to create a new body to balance "AIPAC's hawkish policies". Soros has no interest in visiting Israel and no qualms about presenting himself as an anti Zionist. Despite being a holocaust survivor, he describes the Bush Administration as equivalent to a Nazi regime, accuses Israel of being largely to blame for the resurgence of anti Semitism, and takes pride in being openly critical of Israel which his charity foundation ignores, although it "supports the rights of Arabs in Israel". Soros also promotes the bizarre belief that a weak rather than a strong Israel could best achieve a peace settlement with its neighbors.

The potential combination of Jewish leftists and liberal Jewish salon billionaires is worrisome. It will embolden the radical Jewish doves and reinforce them with chutzpa to more aggressively undermine the Bush Administration's support of Israel. It is no coincidence that Dr. Yossi Beilin strongly supports the creation of the new body which he says "would not compete with AIPAC but would portray another facet of American Jewry".

Regrettably the lame duck Olmert government, which has the capacity to neutralize a Jewish organization seeking to undermine Israel's prime US lobbying vehicle, will in all probability lack the courage and the will to take on the billionaires and will stand aside. It will thus be left to the American Jewish establishment to stand up and be counted and confront the Soros led anti AIPAC initiative. Regrettably their former track record in standing up to the demands of Jewish billionaires is hardly encouraging. Threats by major donors to cancel contributions to parties resisting their demands usually succeeded in intimidating organizations to back down.

It will truly be a sad day for the Jewish people if the Israeli government buries its head in the sand and American Jewish organizations remain silent, whilst a campaign proceeds to "softly" undermine and delegitimize AIPAC by labeling it as a "hawkish" body. Washington's backing for Israel is today more crucial than ever. If American Jews are perceived as being divided over Israel, the long term repercussions on the one superpower whose support is critical, could be disastrous.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Europe knows not evil

This article by DAVID MEYER, THE JERUSALEM POST, Oct. 17, 2006, is a MUST-READ [my own emphasis is added]....

I, a French-born rabbi, have been sitting in a small synagogue in Brussels, celebrating the High Holy Days. Almost 200 years ago to the day, Napoleon convened an assembly of Jewish leaders to help him open the door of citizenship to French Jews. It was the Enlightenment. The Jews of France prepared to receive equal rights and become full partners in the affairs of state. They could call Europe home.

Now I wonder if it was all an illusion. I and other Jews have begun moving toward the sad and frankly terrifying realization that ultimately we may have no home in Europe. It is not that I no longer identify as a European, or that somehow my sense of loyalty to the place of my birth has weakened. No, it is not me who has changed, but Europe. A conflict has emerged between this new Europe and my Jewishness, and I do not know how to resolve it.

MUCH HAS been said and written about the reemergence of anti-Semitism in Europe, but all the discussion hasn't made the phenomenon any more comprehensible to me. I suppose that after the Holocaust, no amount of anti-Semitic madness should surprise us. Yet, I am surprised - and frightened. I am frightened not just by the anti-Semitism but by the collective European response of indifference and appeasement. Today, Europe worships compromise. It is "fanatical" in its non-violence. It is a Europe that, in the face of Islamist fanaticism, is ready to stay silent.

This is the heart of the matter. By refusing to truly battle the Islamist ideology, by refusing to firmly and consistently oppose the dangers of Iranian nuclear proliferation, by refusing to support Israel in its battle against the menace of Hizbullah, Europe is saying everything is "negotiable."

MY FAITH forces me to reflect on the eventuality of having to confront radical evil. It teaches that everything is not negotiable; not everything can be compromised.

When I read in Deuteronomy that it is my religious duty to "erase the memory of Amalek from beneath the heavens," I frankly find myself frightened by the violence of the passage. How can we accept a religious commandment that necessitates us, under certain circumstances, to annihilate the Other?

This dilemma is not only mine. There's a story about an Orthodox Jew who went to Martin Buber, the great German-Jewish philosopher of the 20th century, to tell him of his profound dilemma: "How is it," he said to Buber, "that when King Saul showed mercy in his struggle against Agog, the king of the Amalekites, he was chastised by the Prophet Samuel for showing himself capable of compassion and being ready to compromise?" Buber remained silent for a few moments before answering. "I think that Samuel was mistaken about God's intentions."

BUT RABBI Emil Fackenheim, one of the great post-Shoah thinkers, strongly criticizes Buber's reply and tells us: "Through this answer, Buber disposes of the problem of absolute evil, because if Amalek is not its incarnation, then absolute evil does not exist. Here, we are therefore better served by tradition: Amalek continues to be recognized for what he is, but [also] as a symbol....On the level of Jewish values, to distinguish between Amalek and evil in general is always a difficult task. To an extreme extent, one risks seeing a replica of Amalek in every enemy, while in fact the rabbis recommend trying to make a friend of every enemy.... However, our era has shown that the opposite danger is greater: that which consists in believing or dreaming that Amalek does not exist."

This last sentence warrants further thought. The price of refusing to believe in the existence of evil and in the absolute necessity of confronting it is often very high. Indeed, the greatest danger would be to consider every enemy as a "potential Amalek." Peace is an absolute value and we must always make compromises to achieve it. But we cannot, however, escape one crucial question: If we have to make compromises, with whom? Compromise and dialogue are not values in themselves if the question "with whom?" is not asked.

I fear that my religious tradition is indeed on a collision course with Europe, which seemingly refuses, on principle, all ideas of confrontation. Has Europe not learned that one day we have to confront what frightens and terrorizes us? Or is Europe still looking for a path to the laying down of arms and the dubious compromise?

For us, the Jews of Europe, after witnessing the murder of 6 million of our own, we find ourselves today unable to see eye-to-eye with the political orientation of our old continent. And if what is happening today is not the ultimate wake-up call for Europe, it seems to me that our presence in Europe, 200 years after we were granted citizenship, is reaching its end.

The writer is a member of the executive board of the European Jewish Information Center in Brussels.

Officer in spotlight over footballers' anti-Semitic attack

From The Australian, October 21, 2006, by Padraic Murphy ...

VICTORIA police has launched an internal affairs investigation after learning an officer was at the centre of a vicious, racially motivated bashing of an Orthodox Jew.

A spokesman said Vicpol's Ethical Standards Department had launched the investigation after learning the officer was with a group of country footballers who bashed Menachem Vorchheimer in Caulfield last Saturday as he was walking near his synagogue.

Mr Vorchheimer, who was given a black eye in the attack as he tried to protect two children aged six and three, said he was racially abused. He said the footballers yelled "F..k off Jews" and "Go the Nazis". The footballers also stole Mr Vorchheimer's hat, and punched him as passers-by attempted to help. "This is Melbourne. This shouldn't happen. They stole my religious items, which are very important to me. It was in front of my children," he said.

Mr Vorchheimer said he approached their bus driver, an off-duty police officer, to ask where they were from. "The driver never assaulted me or yelled any abuse but he wouldn't tell me where (the players) were from. I would have thought an officer of the law had a duty to behave in a more ethical manner," Mr Vorchheimer. Internal affairs have launched parallel investigations into the assault after learning the bus driver was an officer.

Mr Vorchheimer said the president of the Ocean Grove Football Club had offered an apology, but the players involved had yet to admit to racially or physically abusing him. "I bear no ill-will towards the club, but I would like an apology from the players concerned," he said. Ocean Grove Football Club president Michael Vines, who has offered an unconditional apology to Mr Vorchheimer, said the players involved faced expulsion from the club.

The Islamic Council of Victoria and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry have also condemned the attack.

Kadima, Yisrael Beiteinu sign coalition deal

From Haaretz, 21:11 23/10/2006, by Gideon Alon and Mazal Mualem ...

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Leiberman signed a coalition agreemment Monday evening....

According to the agreement, which must still be approved by the Knesset, Lieberman will serve as vice premier, and he also will be a Minister of Strategic Threats in the Prime Minister's Office. Lieberman will be a cabinet member and an integral part of all discussions regarding strategic decisions for Israel.

The accord also stipulates that the system of government is to be changed, and hearings will be held in order to formulate an alternative system. Further, the accord includes a commitment to resolving the issue of couples who desire a civil marriage.The Labor Party Central Committee will meet in the coming days in order to decide how to respond to the addition of Yisrael Beiteinu, but is expected to decide to remain in the government.....

....Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman .... echoed Olmert's words when he said that in his view, Israel's most pressing issue was dealing with Iran.

Following a meeting of his Knesset faction Monday, Lieberman criticized the Israeli right wing. "For thirty years the right wing has been in power, and despite this we were unable to prevent the [territorial] withdrawals," said Lieberman. "Maybe we should change the strategy because it is wrong," said Lieberman. "I hope that also members of the right-wing factions will change direction."...

...PM: No escape from changing system of government
Olmert said Monday morning that there was no escape from changing the Israeli system of government, to include elements that would strengthen and ensure the stability of the coalition for a long time. Yisrael Beiteinu would bring 11 lawmakers into the coalition, giving Olmert control of 78 of 120 parliamentary seats.

.... The prime minister, however, emphasized that he does not support the proposed presidential system of government, and that he will not succumb to a demand by any of the coalition members to change the parliamentarian government system.... Olmert said "The government cannot function when it is required to negotiate with different members of its coalition before any major vote - that could determine the government's future." "This must be clear: A government must have a stable majority. And we must set the rules for securing this [concept], and a wide political base that would shield it."...

Jihadists using lessons of Tet

From The Australian, OPINION October 21, 2006, by Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor ....

TO think intelligently about Iraq right now, it is necessary to understand that absolutely everything in the world today, including politics here in Australia, is distorted by the US mid-term congressional elections on November 7.

This is what President George W.Bush meant when he agreed with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times that the present spike in violence in Iraq may be analogous to the Tet offensive in Vietnam in 1968. The Tet offensive was all about the brilliant use of extravagant violence by America's and Australia's enemies to change US policy by changing US politics.
The Tet offensive came in 1968. It was a joint effort by the North Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong to strike all across South Vietnam, which was supported by the US. Tet was a military catastrophe for the communists but a decisive political and psychological victory. For more than three weeks the communists took control of the ancient city of Hue. Thousands of innocent civilians - clergymen, nuns, Buddhists, civil administrators, teachers, anyone thought to be unsympathetic to the communists - were rounded up and killed.

This slaughter never gave the slightest pause to the peace movement in the West, which was campaigning for a communist victory in Vietnam. But Tet was a military disaster for the communists. The Viet Cong was crippled. South Vietnam was eventually invaded in 1975 in an entirely conventional military operation by the North Vietnamese army.

Tet was the first of the television victories over battlefield realities. Tet's scope and savagery shocked Americans and demoralised a large portion of the US governing elite. Although US tactics improved greatly after 1968, while US force numbers were drawn down and the South Vietnamese army became an effective fighting force, Congress ultimately decided that it was against any further resistance to the Indochinese communists, including Cambodia's Pol Pot. It refused to fund the war and cut off all aid to South Vietnam, with the inevitable results.

All Vietnam analogies are suspect, but you can see what Bush was driving at. The global jihadists have a very sophisticated sense of Western politics, especially US politics. It is indeed a central point of jihadist ideology that the US is weak and cannot stand sustained casualties. It's clear the jihadists want the November 7 elections to develop an unstoppable momentum against Bush so that the mood for the US to withdraw from Iraq becomes irresistible. And they want the US to withdraw in defeat and humiliation. There can be little doubt that John Howard is right to say that this would be a massive boost for terrorists worldwide. Similarly, it is hard to believe that this is what Kim Beazley really wants.

On the other hand, it is clear that US tactics in Iraq have not worked.
Strategically, the US was right to intervene in Iraq. Operationally, it has made grievous mistakes: not establishing a provisional Iraqi government straight after the invasion, not sending in enough troops to secure order and deliver services, disbanding the Iraqi army, sacking too many civil servants because they had associations with the Baath party, and never sorting out the differences between the great US agencies of government, the Pentagon with its uniformed and civilian wings, the State Department, the CIA and so on.

The US public is growing frustrated with Iraq not because they cannot bear casualties in a good cause, but because they have been repeatedly told things will get better, only to find them getting worse. They doubt whether there is a coherent and effective plan. They will endanger their soldiers for a good cause, but not for a folly. The interaction of the enemy with domestic politics is a danger for a democracy, as the Tet offensive showed. Yet at a broader level, the fact that US leaders - and Australian leaders - need to take public opinion with them to some extent in matters of war is a good thing. It is part of the genius of democracy, a system with checks and balances leads to course corrections that are more likely than not to produce effective policy.
The Bush administration will be driven to course corrections in Iraq because of the realities in Iraq as well as the realities of the mid-term congressional elections.

But these interactions are extremely complex and anyone who confidently tells you what will happen is selling snake oil. It is possible that anti-Bush Democrats will utterly rout the Republicans and this will lead to a repudiation of Bush's position in Iraq. But even then, Bush will not be completely without power. He can sack Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, express general humility, appoint a bipartisan figure like former Democrat Joe Lieberman, and pledge a new policy in Iraq.

The new policy might look a lot like the old policy: trying to set up a new Iraqi government. It's very unlikely Bush will simply disengage from Iraq. Apart from anything else, US strategic interests are too great. By this I mean interests in Iraq, in the broader Middle East and in US credibility. In one sense Bush has to remain engaged in Iraq until the end of his term, then Iraq becomes his successor's problem. The US will want to draw down the number of its troops in Iraq, but it cannot abandon Iraq.

The way the US goes about drawing down is critical. As others have said, jihadists will be inspired much more by a US defeat than by a US victory. Any new president, as much as Bush, will want to avoid creating a vacuum in Iraq, and to protect US interests and credibility.
There are two ways Bush will likely have a difficult last two years. The Democrats, if they control Congress, will criminalise politics, launching endless investigations into everything the Bush administration has done. The Valerie Plame case shows even when nothing wrong has been done, the process of guerilla litigation can paralyse an administration.

Finally, because Bush's vice-president is not running for president, no domestic actor in US politics has much to fear in the future from antagonising the administration. On the other hand, if in the face of all this the Republicans somehow retain control of Congress, Bush will be re-energised. We can but watch and wait.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Saudis last-ditch try to avert Palestinian civil war

From DEBKAfile October 22, 2006, 11:06 PM (GMT+02:00) ....

Saudis bring over to Jeddah hardline Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal for last-ditch try to avert Palestinian civil war

The Hamas politburo chief traveled from Damascus disguised as a pilgrim. Saudi rulers offered him and his movement generous terms for breaking away from the Damascus-Tehran bloc, freeing the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit and signing a cooperation pact with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.

In a back-up move, the Saudis last week invited to Mecca the heads of the Syrian opposition in exile: former Syrian vice president Khalim Haddam, today a sworn foe of Syrian president Bashar Asad, the leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Sader e-Din Ali Bayanouni and Bashar’s uncle, Rifat Asad, who aspires to oust his nephew and take his place. This act is seen as Riyadh’s warning to Asad of dire consequences, including punitive financial measures, if he tries to disrupt this Palestinian reconciliation move. To demonstrate its importance to the oil kingdom, King Abdullah granted Meshaal a private audience.

DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources describe this as a direct Saudi challenge to Iran and its schemes - in contrast to the inertia displayed by the Egyptian, Jordanian and Israeli governments. The Hamas politburo chief is not generally expected to reject the Saudi proposition out of hand – certainly not the handsome remuneration on offer – but neither is Hamas inclined to turn its back on Syria and Iran, its principal suppliers of weapons and fighters.

On a single day, Sunday, Oct. 22, Fatah and Hamas staged 26 reciprocal assassination attempts of each other’s commanders in a further escalation of tension. Fatah was horrified to see a Hamas parading 500 new recruits in the West Bank town of Qalqilya, a Fatah stronghold.

DEBKAfile’s military sources comment that if Hamas was capable of lining up 500 armed recruits in a small Palestinian town on the West Bank which is surrounded on three sides by Israel’s defense barrier, it betokens a much larger Hamas militia numbering thousands ready to go – a nasty surprise for both Abu Mazen and Israel.
Brigitte Gabriel Speaks on Radical Islam

From YouTube ....

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Palestinian 'diplomacy'

From Haaretz, 21/10/2006, b.y Avi Issacharoff...

... Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar of Hamas told demonstrators in Gaza on Friday that Israel is an abomination in the Middle East that will some day disappear.

...Speaking at a rally in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, the Palestinian foreign minister said Hamas would never accept Israel's existence."We will never recognize Israel, and the end the [fate of] Zionists will be like that of the Crusaders, the Persians and the English, who left. We want all of Palestine, every centimeter, from the river to the sea, from Rosh Hanikra to Rafah. If we can form a state within the 1967 borders we will do so, but this doesn't mean that we will relinquish our right to every centimeter of Palestine's land," he said.

In his speech, Zahar also addressed the Palestinian prisoners in Israel and promised them that Hamas will do all that it can to secure their release, including kidnapping more Israeli soldiers.

More Ahmadinejabber

From Debkafile, Friday October 21, 2006, 8:12 PM (GMT+02:00) ...

[Ahmadinejad] said earlier there is no reason for Israel “the greatest insult to human dignity” to exist and it would soon disappear.

Another of his outrageous speeches was delivered Friday to a pro-Palestinian rally marking the Islami Republic’s “al Qods Day” (Jerusalem Liberation Day). In further inflammatory remarks, Ahmadinejad said “the world knows the US and Britain are enemies of the Iranian nation.” He warned European nations not to harm Iran, saying that if anger in the region boiled over, Europe would get hurt because of its support for Israel. “Europe must distance itself from Israel at once. That is Iran’s ultimatum. “He went on to brand the UN Security Council and its decisions “illegitimate.”

....His harsh words followed ....
  • ... the Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s statement in Moscow this week after he met with Russian leaders: “... In no case...will we reconcile with nuclear arms in Iranian hands. There is no margin for error here.”
  • .... the arrival in the Persian Gulf of the giant US carrier Iwo Jima with its Expeditionary Strike Group to join the American naval, air and marine might piling up opposite Iran’s shores.

Next week too, the Security Council convenes to discussion a form of sanctions against Iran for refusing to desist from enriching uranium.