Posting: December 31, 2007

“Setting Priorities”

That is what I’ve had to do in recent days, my friends. I have refrained from taking the time to post because I have beeen at work on a major report on Fatah, and determined that this had to come first. Documenting the fact that Fatah is neither moderate nor a viable partner for peace, it has been timed for the arrival here of President Bush. Once it is up on a website (it also is being printed hard-copy), I will share a link so all may see it.

For now, I would like to include at the bottom of this posting one particular piece of information included in the report that is very pertinent to Fatah’s true intentions. You will not see this in any media — it was acquired via someone doing private translating from PA radio. Even without the body of my report, it tells the story that must be told.


And so I return to the on-going news, at least beginning to deal with the morass of information that flows to us.

I do this mindful of the fact that tonight New Year’s Eve is celebrated in the N. America and elsewhere (while in the main ignored here), and that many of you may be away from your computers. And I do it with wishes to all for a good 2008. Wishes? My most fervent prayers, actually.


Two beautiful young men — David Rubin and Achikam Amichai — from Kiryat Arba (a Jewish community adjacent to Hevron) were killed by terrorists on Friday, as they hiked in a secluded area west of Hevron. The two, who were friends, were both on leave from an elite IDF unit; Achikam was the son and grandson of rabbis. The incredible, sinful human waste of this!

They were buried Saturday night on Har Hertzl (the military cemetery) in Jerusalem.


According to Khaled Abu Toameh of the Post, some of those responsible for these terrorist murders are connected to Fatah. On Saturday, the IDF arrested terrorists suspected of being involved; they are associated with a militia called the Yasser Arafat Groups — including the leader of the group in Hevron, Ahmed Abu Sittah.

Please note this from Abu Toameh, as well:

“Fatah activists said the attack may be linked to the faction’s preparations to celebrate its 43rd anniversary this week. The attackers, they explained, were apparently hoping to send a message to the Palestinian public that, contrary to claims by Hamas, Fatah has not abandoned the path of armed struggle.”

Our peace partners.


All of this mightily embarrassed PA officials, and PA prime minister Salaam Fayyad went out of his way to express condolences, and to assure everyone that PA security is doing everything possible to investigate and apprehend those involved. There was some announcement about the PA returning to Israel the guns of the young victims, which had been taken from them.

That smacked to me of the sort of typically empty gestures that the PA advances, in lieu of genuine efforts, to show they’re “doing something.” My report is full of documentation of such gestures, so I’m particularly cynical. I even have a quote from Barry Rubin that “The PA has never really punished anyone for murdering or trying to kill an Israeli… “


And sure enough, by Sunday, the PA was saying that the Hevron murders were “criminally motivated.” It was suggested that the attack was the result of a “dispute” between arms dealers, the implication being that the two young Israeli soldiers had gone hiking to sell arms.

The PA security forces in Hevron — ignoring the fact that Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad had all claimed credit for the attack — said there was no evidence of any reason for the attack other than that arms dispute. Could make one gag.


And there’s more: On Saturday PA Interior Minister Abdel Razzak al-Yahya announced that Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades had ceased to exist. Another effort to show that the PA security was handling matters and had eliminated a Fatah branch that was terrorist.

Well, this didn’t sit too well with Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades. First they distributed thousands of leaflets saying they were continuing the armed struggle.

And then, yesterday, they called for the elimination of Fayyad, a “collaborator” with the US and Israel.


This dovetails so neatly with what I wrote in my report that I must refer to it here: The prevailing thesis among those who adhere to wishful thinking (and they are legion!) is that Fatah is a moderate foil to Hamas and thus must be strengthened. What I am arguing is that the presence of Hamas as both a political and military strength has shifted the entire Palestinian dialogue to the right — forced it to be even more radical and even less conciliatory.

Even if — and I’m not saying it is so, because I don’t believe it — Abbas and Fayyad were sincere moderates, they are beholden to the street and to the other members of their party. And Hamas thinking — which calls moderation weakness — has affected all of this. Hamas implies that anyone who doesn’t continue the “armed resistance” is a traitor. Who wants to be labeled a traitor?

I suggest that in this climate, true negotiations, which require compromise and conciliation, are not remotely possible.


The PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki has announced that PA security forces have arrested a Hamas cell that was planning a suicide attack; he said they had a videotape of one of the members of the cell detailing their plans. “We confiscated huge amounts of mercury (used in detonators) in Nablus,” he elaborated.

However, the videotape wasn’t shown, Malki wouldn’t answer reporters’ questions, and no names of those arrested were provided.

These guys have no shame. Of course the fact that Bush is coming next week and the PA has to show it is doing its part for security has nothing to do with this.

The IDF — which has excellent intelligence in the area — says it has no knowledge of this incident.


This past week, the IDF picked up 6.5 tons of potassium nitrate, a banned explosive material, as it was being smuggled through a checkpoint in sacks that identified it as sugar from the EU. Note: this was stopped at a checkpoint. Six tons would have made a lot of Kassams and bombs.


Abbas spoke in Ramallah today during celebrations marking Fatah’s 43rd anniversary. He said the PA would never cede a single inch in negotiations with regard to Jerusalem. And he made conciliatory gestures to Hamas: he called for “dialogue, dialogue, dialogue,” and held out the hope of reconciliation (based still on Hamas relinquishing its control over Gaza).


“Friday sermons delivered at the Al Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount are broadcast on PA radio. On Friday, December 28, 2007 (just one month after Annapolis), Sheikh Mohammed Hussein delivered the sermon. It included the following fabrications and incitement to violence:

“Al Aksa Mosque has become the target of Israeli settlers. They have become accustomed to entering Al Aksa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli security forces. This refutes Israeli claims to protecting our holy places.

“The Israeli authorities are not satisfied with the excavations already performed… [In addition] they have been digging tunnels under Al Aksa Mosque’s foundations and walls, allowing the herds of settlers to enter its squares and gates in their plan to turn the holy city of Jerusalem into a Jewish one.

“I’d like to warn against the criminal Israeli plans for the holy city. We have confirmed that there is a real danger to Jerusalem. The Arab nation should not stand [with] hands folded when it comes to Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem stands for the Islamic history and doctrine that establishes an inseparable relationship between Muslims and Jerusalem. Allah chose us, a nation religiously and historically connected with this land, to be faithful guards to the holy places in Palestine. This obligation drove Prophet Mohammed’s followers to arrive here, in Palestine, and spread the Islamic religion. This is the holy land of Allah, and Muslims are only the guardians of these holy places.

“The Israelis aren’t interested only in Al Aksa Mosque but want the whole city of Jerusalem to become Jewish. They have confiscated the Jerusalemite’s lands, built new settlements in and around the city to isolate it from its Arab surroundings, and have expanded settlements.”

“The Palestinians are the defenders of this land. We should face up to our responsibilities and fulfill our duty. Our sacrifices are many; the number of martyrs and wounded is growing. [We see] the destruction of the Palestinian life and infrastructure, the arrests of Palestinians by the Israeli forces. All this will not deter us from fulfilling our duties. On the contrary, they serve as evidence to our willingness to sacrifice for our goals.”