Sunday, July 18, 2010

Palestinian Suffering in Gaza at the Hands of Hamas: 5 Reasons

(The Israel Project – July 15th 2010)

Quality of life for Palestinians in Gaza has deteriorated considerably since Iran-backed Hamas took over the area in a bloody coup against the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) in June 2007.[1] Hamas – designated a terrorist organization by the European Union, the United States, Israel, Canada, and Australia[2] – has deprived its people of basic rights and created a regime that endangers its own citizens.[3] Meanwhile, for four years Hamas has held kidnapped Israeli soldier Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit and has refused to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit him, in violation of the Geneva Convention.[4] Following are five reasons people in Gaza are suffering under Hamas rule.

1. Loss of Palestinian lives and property due to Hamas’s continued rocket attacks against Israel. Hamas’s years-long campaign of rocket, missile and mortar attacks against Israel led Israel to launch Operation Cast Lead, a defensive operation in Gaza from December 2008-January 2009 during which more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed.[5] Additionally, more than 2,600 buildings, as well as roads and other infrastructure, were destroyed or severely damaged.[6]

Despite efforts by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to minimize civilian casualties,[7] Hamas made the operation more dangerous for Palestinians through its widespread use of civilians as human shields.[8] Video evidence, eyewitness testimonies and Israeli intelligence reports demonstrate that Hamas routinely stored weapons in mosques, used hospitals as command headquarters and overall endangered the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza.[9] In contrast, the IDF dropped leaflets and left Arabic-language messages on the cell phones of Gaza civilians urging them to leave homes in combat zones.[10] The defensive operation has reduced by 90 percent the number of rocket, missile and mortar attacks on Israel from Gaza.[11]

Hamas’s continued attempts to smuggle arms into the territory and refusal to release Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit have also led Israel to maintain a blockade on Gaza while still allowing in humanitarian aid. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced June 20 that he was easing the restrictions on Gaza and that all civilian goods will be allowed in, although restrictions would remain on dual-use items that could be used for military purposes.[12]

2. Hamas’s violent takeover of Gaza and persecution of political opponents. During Hamas’s June 2007 overthrow of Fatah – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ political party – more than 150 Palestinians were killed and at least 700 wounded. Atrocities committed by Hamas included throwing opponents from rooftops, disabling them for life by shooting them in the knees and attacking hospitals.[13] In the months following Hamas’s victory, its forces continued to use violence to suppress Fatah.[14] Hamas stepped up its brutality against Fatah during and after Operation Cast Lead, executing and torturing Fatah activists it accused of collaborating with Israel.[15]

Hamas recently rejected an offer by Abbas to discuss a plan to end the ongoing violence between the two groups.[16] The Hamas-Fatah rivalry also led to a power outage in Gaza, because neither group would pay electricity bills.[17] “Were it not for Israel’s presence between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Fatah and Hamas would most likely be dispatching suicide bombers and rockets at each other,” Jerusalem Post correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh said. [18]

3. Hamas’s indoctrination of children in violent ideology through its network of summer camps. Each summer, Hamas organizes children’s camps that instill hatred towards Israel and Jews.[19] In 2009, Hamas operated 700 camps for 120,000 Palestinian children.[20] The military-like camps teach children weaponry, marching drills, anti-Zionist and anti-American songs, and to idolize martyrdom.[21] Most casualties among young Palestinians occur because of their direct participation in violence against Israel.[22]

Hamas and other extremist groups have accused the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – the UN’s aid organization for Palestinians – of corrupting Palestinian youth by operating secular summer camps, which incorporate sports and human rights lessons. A Hamas spokesman said the UNRWA camps were a “barbaric attack on our children…whose objective is to corrupt their morals with drugs and other things.”[23] In May and June 2010, armed jihadist groups vandalized two UNRWA summer camps in Hamas-run Gaza.[24] A Fatah spokesman blamed Hamas for one of the attacks.[25] Click here and here to read more about the recent attacks on UNRWA summer camps.

4. Hamas’s enforcement of strict Islamic morality and repression of women. In line with its roots as a fundamentalist religious movement based on the Muslim Brotherhood,[26] Hamas has gradually imposed Sharia (Islamic religious law) on Gazans, despite past statements by the group’s leaders that it would not do so.[27] As part of its “virtue” campaign, Hamas in recent months arrested a female Palestinian journalist for laughing while at a public beach and for not wearing a head covering.[28] Hamas forbids women from riding motorcycles with men and has banned men from working at women’s hair salons.[29] Hamas dispatches “modesty patrols” to check cars for men riding with single women to whom they’re not related.[30] Hamas has closed a number of Internet cafes, movie theaters and bars frequented by young people in Gaza.[31] In contrast, the PA-ruled West Bank city of Ramallah has a burgeoning nightlife.[32]

5. Hamas’s repeated attempts to block humanitarian aid from reaching its citizens. Although Israel has delivered more than a million tons of food and other supplies into Gaza since January 2009,[33] Hamas has attacked Israel-Gaza border crossings, including the Kerem Shalom crossing through which about 200 truckloads of aid enter Gaza per week.[34] In 2009, UNRWA suspended all aid to Gaza because armed Hamas police stole blankets and food meant for the Palestinian people.[35] More recently, Israel offered to deliver aid from an illegal Gaza-bound flotilla it intercepted on May 31, but Hamas turned away the shipment, stalling its delivery for a full month.[36] The aid included 20 truckloads of medical equipment, clothing, blankets and toys.[37]

[1] “Hamas Coup in Gaza, ” International Institute for Strategic Studies Web site, June 2007,
olume-13---2007/volume-13--issue-5--june-2007/hamas-coup-in-gaza; “Hamas takes full control of Gaza,” BBC, June 15, 2007,; “Freedom in the World - Palestinian Authority-Administered Territories (2010),” Freedom House,, accessed June 30, 2010

[2] "Council Decision," Council of the European Union, Dec. 21, 2005; "Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)," U.S. Department of State Web site, Oct. 11, 2005,; Wilson, Scott, "Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast," The Washington Post, Jan. 27, 2006, accessed Jan. 18, 2006,; Public Security and Emergency Preparedness Canada, National Security, Listed entities, accessed Jan. 18, 2007,; "Listing of Terrorist Organisations," Australian Government Web site, May 24, 2007,

[3] McCarthy, Rory, "Hamas murder campaign in Gaza exposed," The Guardian, Feb. 13, 2009,; "Hamas waged a deadly campaign as war devastated Gaza," Amnesty International, Feb. 12, 2009,;
"Hamas exploitation of civilians as human shields: photographic evidence," Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 6, 2010,

[4] Berger, Robert, “Israel Marks 4th Year of Soldier's Captivity in Gaza,” VOA News, June 25, 2010,; Mar’i, Mohammed, “Red Cross visit to Shalit not possible: Hamas,” Arab News, June 12, 2010,

[5] “Operation Cast Lead,”,, accessed July 14, 2010

[6] “Satellite-based Gaza damage assessment review,” UNOSAT, Feb. 19, 2009,

[7] “IDF Operation in Gaza: Cast Lead,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 21, 2009,
Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Terrorism+and+Islamic+Fundamentalism-/Aerial_strike_weapon_development_center+_Gaza_28-Dec-2008.htm, accessed Dec. 15, 2009

[8] “Hamas exploitation of civilians as human shields: Photographic evidence,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 6, 2008,
evidence.htm, accessed Dec. 15, 2009

[9] Marcus, Itamar; Crook, Barbara, “Hamas using children in combat support roles,” Palestinian Media Watch, Jan. 13, 2009,; “Hamas TV Pictures Promotes Female Suicide Bombers Squad,” CBS News, Jan. 14, 2009,; “Operation Cast Lead – Update No. 5,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Jan. 1, 2009,; Mizroch, Amir, “Dichter: Hamas salaries paid at Shifa Hospital,” The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 12, 2009,; “The Operation in Gaza: Factual and Legal Aspects,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 2009, p.57,

[10] Barzak, Ibrahim and Teibel, Amy, “Israeli assault on Hamas kills more than 200,” AP, Dec. 27, 2008,; “IDF Releases Information on Military Investigations,” IDF Web site, April 22, 2009,; Greenberg, Hanan, “IDF to give better warnings before attacks,” YnetNews, July 29, 2009,,7340,L-3753851,00.html

[11] Greenberg, Hanan, “90% drop in rocket attacks since Cast Lead,” YnetNews, Dec. 9, 2009,

[12] “Prime Minister’s Office statement following the Israeli Security Cabinet meeting,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, June 20, 2010,; “Gaza: Lists of Controlled Entry Items,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 4, 2010,

[13] “Black Pages in the Absence of Justice: Report on Bloody Fighting in the Gaza Strip, from 7 to 14 June 2007,” Palestine Center for Human Rights, Oct. 1, 2007,
Eng%209%20october..pdf; Issacharoff, Avi, “Shock, awe and dread,” Haaretz, June 22, 2007,

[14] El-Khodary, Tagreed, “6 Palestinians Killed in Gaza at Fatah Rally,” The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2007,

[15] Toameh, Khaled Abu, “Hamas torturing Fatah members in Gaza,” The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 19, 2009,

[16] Toameh, Khaled Abu, “Hamas nixes Abbas' reconciliation talks,” The Jerusalem Post, June 16,

[17] “UNRWA criticizes Palestinian infighting,” The Jerusalem Post, June 27, 2010,

[18] Toameh, Khaled Abu, “The Palestinians’ Dirty War,” April 13,

[19] “Summer camps in the Gaza Strip run by Hamas and other terrorist organizations inculcate youngsters with radical Islamic ideology and the culture of terrorism. Some camps offer military training to prepare future ranks of operatives for the terrorist organizations,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Aug. 24, 2008,

[20]“Report: Hamas Summer Campers Re-Enact Abduction of Israeli Soldier,” Fox News via The Jerusalem Post, July 27, 2009,,2933,534938,00.html

[21] “Participation of children and teenagers in terrorist activity during the Al-Aqsa intifada,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 30, 2003,

[22] “Behind the Headlines: Hamas’ss Mickey Mouse teaches children to hate and kill,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 10, 2007,

[23] “Hamas summer camps in the Gaza Strip integrate social activities with political and Islamic indoctrination and semi-military training,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Aug. 16, 2009,

[24] “Militants attack U.N. Gaza summer camp,” Reuters, May 23, 2010,

[25] Translated by TIP staff: Hamid, Chad, “Hamas Government Pledges it will Pursue UNRWA Camp Attackers,” Alghad (Jordan), May 24, 2010,

[26] “Hamas,” Council on Foreign Relations, Aug. 27, 2009,

[27] Issacharoff, Avi, “Hamas to expel Gaza schoolgirls not wearing muslim dress,” Haaretz, Aug. 24, 2009,

[28] Issacharoff, Avi, “Hamas arrests Palestinian woman for not wearing headscarf,” Haaretz, July 6, 2009; Toameh, Khaled Abu, “'They accused me of laughing in public,'” The Jerusalem Post, April 7, 2010,

[29] “Hamas bans Gaza motorcyclists from giving women rides,” AP, Oct. 7, 2009,
hamas-bans-gaza-motorcyclists-from-giving-women-rides-1.6530; “Hamas bans men from women's hair salons in Gaza,” Haaretz, March 5, 2010,

[30] “Islamists torch summer camp in Gaza,” The Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2010,

[31] Herzog, Michael, “The Hamas Conundrum,” Foreign Affairs, Feb. 8, 2010,; “Hamas bans men from women's hair salons in Gaza,” Haaretz, March 5, 2010,

[32] Luongo, Michael T., “Ramallah attracts a cosmopolitan crowd,” The New York Times, June 3,,

[33] “Behind the Headlines: The Israeli humanitarian lifeline to Gaza,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 25, 2010,

[34] Ravid, Barak; Harel, Amos; Azoulay, Yuval; Eyadat, Fadi, “Hamas vows ‘harsh’ attacks on Israel, says previous assaults were ‘practice’,” Haaretz, April 21, 2008,

[35] Kershner, Isabel and Taghreed El-Khodary, “UN says Hamas stole aid intended for Gazans,” Feb. 4, 2009,

[36] Bronner, Ethan, “Turkish Aid From Flotilla Begins Arriving in Gaza,” The New York Times, July 1, 2010,

[37] Sherwood, “Harriet, Hamas refuses flotilla aid delivered by Israel,” The Guardian, June 3, 2010,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Camels were never this vicious

Melanie Phillips Friday, 9th July 2010

No sooner is one given a smart smack on the butt to get it to melt away into the desert landscape than another one comes charging across the sand. The gushing effusions by Britain’s ambassador to Lebanon, Frances Guy, about the spiritual godfather of Hezbollah which, as I wrote
below, she posted on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office site, have been excised from that site. But now it turns out that Britain’s ambassador to Jordan James Watt is even worse, as ‘Bialik’ -- a reader on the Harry’s Place blog -- has pointed out.

For on his own FCO blog, Watt makes it clear he doesn’t think Israel has an overwhelming historic claim to its own existence, thinks the Palestinian Arabs were indigenous to the land and that the idea that Israel was the Jews’ national home thousands of years ago is fanciful.

Here he denies Jewish national self-determination:

No one outside Israel is prepared – or very few – to take Zionist arguments at their face value any longer.

Here he denies Jewish and Middle Eastern history:

Completely non-factual assertions - for example that a Jewish people was building Jerusalem 5,000 years ago - only serve to emphasise the absence of real content or reasoning. The strange thing is how long Western audiences tolerated such claims without challenging them: I think because they were hoping that a reasonable settlement with the indigenous Palestinian population would emerge in the course of things (and with some diplomatic heavy lifting).

Here he denies Jewish history and national self-determination and descends into rank bigotry:

The origin of the problem – the arrival of the Zionists in Palestine, with their commitment to avoiding any kind of integration into existing society, and their policy of importing their co-religionists from cultural and social backgrounds alien to Palestine, changed everything.

Here he is peddling the Big Lie by Hamas, Hezbollah and the PLO that misrepresents Israeli defence as aggression and describes all Arabs killed by Israel as civilians -- whereas in fact most are terrorists:

Few observers would disagree with Hirst that Israel has long committed itself to a policy of massive military deterrence, which is now becoming progressively more violent - and, by the account of its own officials, more ready to inflict civilian casualties on a large scale in pursuit of its political goals. Gaza showed that progression: more remote shelling and rocketing by the Israeli forces, with minimum risk to its own soldiers: ten lost their lives, and three Israeli civilians, while 1,330 Gazans (most of them civilians and 410 of them children) lost theirs. Compare that to the 43 Israeli civilians who died under Hizbullah rocket fire in July-August 2006, and 119 Israeli soldiers in the fighting, against over a thousand Lebanese civilians (one third of them children) and an unknown number of Lebanese combatants.

Here he is sympathising with the Turkish terrorists who were killed on the Mavi Marmara when they tried to lynch the Israeli soldiers who boarded the Gaza flotilla, and also claiming that Israel’s reason for restricting the flow of goods into Gaza -- that it is to prevent arms smuggling and weaken the grip of Hamas -- is a lie:

I offer my condolences to the families of the who were killed, in what should have been an entirely avoidable tragedy... the entire world has had enough of the blockade of Gaza - a blockade which Israel should have long ago lifted under the terms of UN Security Resolution 1801, as well as other international law. And the world has had enough of the pretexts Israel uses to continue it.
This is what has been called the FCO's 'camel corps'. But camels were never this vicious. It is an old cliché that diplomats are sent abroad to lie for their country. But one inevitable effect of Watt’s demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel through such distortions and bigotry is to whip up yet more genocidal hatred throughout the Arab and Muslim world.
The British Government says it is committed to a two-state solution. Why is its Ambassador to Jordan suggesting that the state that already exists is illegitimate? Is this the British Government’s position? If not, why is it allowing its Ambassador to Jordan to represent such an obnoxious view? Are Watt's comments also -- as the FCO said about Frances Guy's blog post -- merely a 'personal view'? If so, why are they on the FCO website -- where Guy's remained until they attracted the embarrassing attention of the blogosphere? Will Foreign Secretary William Hague repudiate these distortions and the venomous hostility Watt displays towards Britain’s ally? Or are we to conclude that these are beliefs that he himself shares?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Britain Decriminalizes Vigilantism against Israel

Compilation of reports,7340,L-3914014,00.html

and blogs

Britain decriminalizes vigilantism against Israel In a mind-blowing verdict, a British jury acquitted people who admitted that they purposefully caused damage to an arms factory - because, they said, the arms were being used by Israel:

Five activists who caused ֲ£180,000 damage to an arms factory were acquitted after they argued they were seeking to prevent Israeli war crimes.

The five were jubilant after a jury found them not guilty of conspiring to cause criminal damage to the factory on the outskirts of Brighton.

The five admitted they had broken in and sabotaged the factory, but argued they were legally justified in doing so.

They believed that EDO MBM, the firm that owns the factory, was breaking export regulations by manufacturing and selling to the Israelis military equipment which would be used in the occupied territories. They wanted to slow down the manufacture of these components, and impede what they believed were war crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinians.

They are the latest group of peace and climate-change activists to successfully use the "lawful excuse" defence “omitting an offence to prevent a more serious crime “ as a tactic in their campaigns.

They had decided to act last January after three weeks of Israeli military maneuvers against Gaza in which many Palestinians were killed.

In his summing up, Judge George Bathurst-Norman suggested to the jury that "you may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time".

The judge highlighted the testimony by Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, that "all democratic paths had been exhausted" before the activists embarked on their action. Meaning that the judge pretty much told the jury to acquit them. Unbelievable.

Hove crown court heard the activists had broken into the factory in the night. They had video-taped interviews beforehand outlining their intention to cause damage and, in the words of prosecutor Stephen Shay, "smash-up" the factory.

The full article can be read at,7340,L-3914014,00.html

As one blogger writes “actually, I think Judge Bathurst-Norman's courtroom is a bit of hell on earth.

The witnesses lied in his courtroom and he bolstered their mendacity. Oddly enough, he has been quoted as warning:

- “that Britain risks falling into anarchy or becoming a police state if confidence in the judiciary is lost. He said that political decisions...had tied judges' hands and led to "silly" sentences”.

- the trouble is, if you go on for political reasons undermining the public's faith in the judiciary, sooner or later you are heading for anarchy and... in due course for the equivalent of a police state."

The blogger then asks “I wonder, is the judge a "Palestinian"?

Yes:- Judge George Bathurst-Norman, who has previously had a record as quite a law’n’order judge, gave a summing up so favourable that some supporters were worried that the jury might react to what they perceived as an attempt to bounce them into a not guilty verdict. We need not have worried! Perhaps the fact that His Honour was born in the Arab town of Jaffa opposite Tel Aviv might have something to do with it! Judge George Bathurst-Norman was brought out of retirement to hear the case