We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to: Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 –
EU Gives Hamas Green Light to Attack Israel: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 22, 2014— Less than 48 hours after a top European Union court ruled that Hamas should be removed from the bloc's list of terrorist groups, supporters of the Palestinian Islamist movement responded by firing a rocket at Israel. The attack, which did not cause any casualties or damage, did not come as a surprise.
Hamas's International Triangle of Bases: Gaza, Turkey and Qatar: Yaakov Lappin, IPT News, Dec. 18— In recent years, the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas has developed into a truly international entity. Today, it enjoys three territorial bases of operation: Gaza, the seat of the Hamas regime, Turkey, and Qatar.
America's Palestine Refugee Policy Is Insane: Asaf Romirowsky & Alexander Joffe, National Interest, Nov. 9, 2014 — One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
‘Freedom of Speech’ Under Abbas-led Palestinian Authority: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Dec. 17, 2014— In a society where a land owner is sentenced to death for selling his property as he chooses, it is no surprise to find other freedoms lacking as well.
Iran Accelerates Arming of Hizbullah and Hamas for Possible Clash with Israel: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, Dec. 22, 2014
Doubts Emerge Over EU Court’s Justification for Annulment of Hamas Terror Designation: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 17, 2014
Hamas Diverting Reconstruction Material to Rebuilding Terror Tunnels: IPT News, Dec. 19, 2014
'Palestinian Rights Activism' Panel Turns Perpetrators into Victims: Andrew Harrod, Jihad Watch, Dec. 18, 2014
Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Institute, Dec. 22, 2014
Less than 48 hours after a top European Union court ruled that Hamas should be removed from the bloc's list of terrorist groups, supporters of the Palestinian Islamist movement responded by firing a rocket at Israel. The attack, which did not cause any casualties or damage, did not come as a surprise. Buoyed by the EU court's ruling, Hamas leaders and spokesmen see it as a "political and legal achievement" and a "big victory" for the "armed struggle" against Israel. Musa Abu Marzouk, a top Hamas leader, issued a statement thanking the EU court for its decision. He hailed the decision to remove his movement from the terrorist list as a "victory for all those who support the Palestinian right to resistance." When Hamas leaders talk about "resistance," they are referring to terrorist attacks, such as the launching of rockets and suicide bombings against Israel. In other words, Hamas has interpreted the court's decision as a green light to carry out fresh attacks as part of its ambition to destroy Israel.
The rocket that was fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel only days after the court decision is not likely to be the last. Although the EU court has said that its controversial decision was "technical" and was not a reassessment of Hamas's classification as a terrorist group, leaders of the Islamist movement believe that the move will eventually earn them legitimacy in the international arena. Ironically, the EU court's decision coincided with Hamas celebrations marking the 27th anniversary of its founding. Once again, Hamas used the celebrations to remind everyone that its real goal is to destroy Israel. And, of course, Hamas used the event to display its arsenal of weapons that include various types of rockets and missiles, as well as drones.
Hours before the EU court decision was made public, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar announced that his movement would never recognize Israel. Zahar also made it clear that Hamas seeks to overthrow the Palestinian Authority [PA] regime and seize control over the West Bank.
The EU court's decision also coincided with increased efforts to achieve rapprochement between Hamas and Iran. Recently, a senior Hamas leadership delegation visited Tehran as part of efforts to mend fences between the two sides. The main purpose of the visit was to persuade the Iranians to resume military and financial aid to Hamas. The visit, according to senior Hamas officials, appears to have been "successful."
"There are many signs that our relations are back on the right track," explained Hamas's Musa Abu Marzouk. "Hamas and Iran have repaired their relations, which were strong before the Syrian crisis." Relations between Hamas and Iran deteriorated due to the Islamist movement's refusal to support the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Now the Iranians are likely to interpret the EU court decision to remove Hamas from the list of terrorist groups as a green light to resume financial and military aid to the movement. Iran's leaders recently announced that they intend to dispatch weapons not only to the Gaza Strip, but to the West Bank as well, as part of Tehran's effort to support those Palestinians who are fighting to eliminate Israel. Moreover, the EU court's move will also embolden other countries that provide Hamas with political and financial aid, first and foremost Qatar and Turkey. Oil-rich Gulf countries such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia will now face pressure from many Arabs and Muslims to join Qatar, Turkey and Iran in extending their support to Hamas.
The biggest losers, meanwhile, are Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Over the past few months, the two men have been doing their utmost to undermine Hamas and end its rule over the Gaza Strip. Abbas has been fighting Hamas by blocking financial and humanitarian aid and arresting its supporters in the West Bank, while Sisi continues to tighten the blockade on the Gaza Strip and destroy dozens of smuggling tunnels along the border with Egypt. The EU court's decision represents a "severe blow to the Palestinian Authority and Egypt," noted Palestinian political analyst Raed Abu Dayer. "As far is Abbas is concerned, the decision grants Hamas political legitimacy and challenges his claim to be the sole legitimate leader [of the Palestinians]. With regards to Egypt, the European court decision calls into question rulings by Egyptian courts that Hamas is a terrorist organization."
Even if the EU court decision is reversed in the future, there's no doubt that it has already caused tremendous damage, especially to those Muslims who are opposed to radical Islam. Any victory for Hamas, albeit a small and symbolic one, is a victory for the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood and other fundamentalist groups around the world. The decision has left many Arabs and Muslims with the impression that Hamas, after all, is not a terrorist organization, especially if non-Muslims in Europe say so through one of their top courts. Even worse, the decision poses a real and immediate threat to Israel, as evident from the latest rocket attack. If the Europeans have reached the conclusion that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, then why don't their governments openly invite tens of thousands of Hamas members and supporters to move to London, Paris and Rome? And they should not forget to ask the Hamas members to bring along with them their arsenal of weapons.
IPT News, Dec. 18, 2014
In recent years, the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas has developed into a truly international entity. Today, it enjoys three territorial bases of operation: Gaza, the seat of the Hamas regime, Turkey, and Qatar. According to Israeli intelligence estimates, each base serves a different purpose. The three branches have worked, alternatively, in harmony and in discord, together and independently, in line with the various terrorist activities they pursue. "These are not the same leaderships," one security source said, speaking of the Hamas command structure in each base. "Qatar is home to Hamas's political branch, headed by Khaled Meshaal. In Turkey [in the city of Istanbul], Hamas maintains a military branch headquarters, which sets up terrorist infrastructure. This headquarters is comprised partly of former Hamas prisoners who were ejected from Israel during the  Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. In Gaza, there are both military and political operatives." Each branch plays a unique role, and relations between them fluctuate.
Hamas's headquarters in Istanbul is headed by Salah Al-Arouri, a senior figure in the military wing who is focused on rejuvenating Hamas terrorism cells in the West Bank, and using it as a springboard for orchestrating deadly attacks against Israel. Gaza is home to the main military wing, the Ezzedin Al-Qassam Brigades, whose operatives focus on building up their offensive rocket capabilities, tunnel networks, and, like Arouri, they also seek to also set up West Bank terrorism cells. On Thursday, Hamas held what is described as its largest military exercise since the summer war against Israel. Gaza is also home to Hamas's political wing, headed by Ismail Haniyeh. "They all have their own interests. Those in Gaza have one point of view, those abroad have another. There have, in the past, been disagreements," the source said. One example of such internal conflict was the dispute between Khaled Meshaal and Hamas in Gaza over when to end the summer war with Israel. Meshaal pushed Hamas to continue the fighting, despite growing calls by Hamas in Gaza to agree to a ceasefire. The conflicting positions were partly the result of geography: Hamas in Gaza had a better real time understanding of the heavy costs Israel was inflicting on it during the fighting than the overseas Meshaal, who, from his luxurious Qatari surroundings, could afford the privilege of calling for more fighting.
Nevertheless, a basic level of cooperation and consent exists among all three branches. Saleh Al-Arouri in Turkey would not have embarked on a major mission to set up a large-scale Hamas terrorist network in the West Bank, plan atrocities against Israel, and aim to topple the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, without approval from Khaled Meshaal and Hamas in Gaza. Cooperation may not always be close, but it exists. "There are connections," the security source said. "Hamas in Gaza is connected to those trying to orchestrate terrorism in Judea and Samaria. There is a circle of cooperation." Arouri could seek and receive assistance from Gaza, as he has done, but he can also try to work independently. "There are no laws," the source stressed.
In recent months, the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] uncovered two intricate Hamas terror plots to inflict mass-casualty attacks on Israelis, and to weaken Fatah in the West Bank. Both were tied to Arouri. This discovery has led Israeli defense chiefs to become more vocal about the Hamas base in Turkey. "Hamas's terrorism headquarters are in Gaza and in Istanbul. It is unbelievable that a NATO member is hosting the headquarters of a terrorist organization in its territory," Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told his Spanish counterpart earlier this month. "We have stopped a coup planned by Hamas, which was organized in, among other places, its Turkish headquarters, against [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen in Judea and Samaria. We saved him from this revolution. Hence, there is much significance and importance in our having freedom to operate security-wise in Judea and Samaria," Ya'alon stated.
Likewise, at the end of November, the Shin Bet and IDF announced that they had broken up a large-scale international Hamas terrorist infrastructure that was in the planning stages of multiple mass-casualty attacks, including an intended bombing of a soccer stadium in Jerusalem. The plot included car bombings, bombing Jerusalem's light rail system, and targeting Israelis overseas. This case illustrates the growing centrality of Istanbul to Hamas terror activities in the West Bank. Hamas's headquarters in Turkey has become a key command and planning center. Earlier this year, the Shin Bet announced the thwarting of another large Hamas network in the West Bank, set up by Saleh Al-Arouri in Istanbul, and headed locally by a Hamas member in Ramallah.
Hamas funneled more than a million shekels [more than $250,000] to terror operatives to prepare a series of attacks, which were designed to allow it to shift attention away from Gaza, and ultimately lead to the fall of the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority, according to Israeli investigation. This would be achieved by provoking Israel into harsh responses in the West Bank, destabilizing the area and leading to the toppling of the PA. Hamas has come a long way since the days when its founders, Muslim Brotherhood operatives in the Palestinian territories, set up indoctrination and social support centers. Today, it is an international terrorist organization, which continues to plot new ways to murder and maim Israelis from its various bases, while it dreams of setting up a second Islamist-jihadist regime in the West Bank, as it did in Gaza.
Asaf Romirowsky & Alexander Joffe
The National Interest, Dec. 19, 2014
One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By any measurement, Western policy towards United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the internationally funded agency for Palestinian “refugees,” meets that definition. One example is the newly released 2015 State Department Framework for Cooperation Between UNRWA and the U.S. This exercise in repetition occurred in the wake of a war that again exposed UNRWA’s unsavory and illegal activities, from being “shocked” that its schools were used to store Hamas’ rockets and rote condemnations of Israel, to its employees cheering the murder of Israelis. The framework nevertheless represents the American commitment to prolong the existence of UNRWA, established almost exactly 65 years ago.
The bulk of the document deals with UNRWA management. For example, there are the “15 objectives of the Medium Term Strategy” and the “Development of Strategic Response Plans for each of UNRWA’s five fields of operation through a consultative process.” The document also speaks of the “Continued implementation of ongoing management reforms, particularly in the areas of results-based management, resource mobilization, human resources, transition to and management of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) data management system, and internal communications.” These reflect the professionalization of UNRWA from a temporary relief organization into a multifaceted international organization dealing with Palestinian “basic education, health, relief and social services, microcredit, camp improvement and infrastructure and other assistance,” and “human development of Palestinian refugees by improving living conditions, economic potential, livelihoods, access, and human rights.” In other words, all the things that a Palestinian state should be doing for its citizens at home and outside its borders.
They also take for granted that UNRWA will not only continue to exist through at least 2021 (the end of the next five year planning cycle,) but will also grow in both scope and size, then and beyond. There is no talk about limiting UNRWA’s operations, or turning responsibilities over to the Palestinian Authority or to countries that host Palestinian “refugees.” In fact, the only talk about an end to UNRWA is the boilerplate statement that “The goal of U.S. support to UNRWA is to ensure that Palestinian refugees live in dignity with an enhanced human development potential until a comprehensive and just solution is secured.” Left unsaid is the fact that only the United Nations General Assembly can dissolve UNRWA, and that body’s definition of a “comprehensive and just solution” to the Arab-Israeli conflict is unlikely to be realized anytime soon, if ever. The Framework does make a sideways nod to the reality that the 2014 Gaza War generated some bad publicity for UNRWA, during the course of which American legislators demanded investigations into how Hamas weapons found their way into UNRWA schools. For the State Department the matter is pressing particularly given that Section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (amended) states that “No contributions by the United States shall be made to (UNRWA) except on the condition that (UNRWA) take all possible measures to assure than no part of the United States contribution shall be used to furnish assistance to any refugee who is receiving military training as a member of the so-called Palestine Liberation Army or any other guerilla-type organization or who has engaged in any act of terrorism.”
Thus the new Framework states: “The United States and UNRWA share concerns about the threat of terrorism, including within the context of the United Nation’s firm commitment to counter terrorism and the conditions on U.S. contributions to UNRWA under section 301(c). To this end, UNRWA is committed to taking all possible measures to ensure that funding provided by the United States to support UNRWA is not used to provide assistance to, or otherwise support, terrorists or terrorist organizations. The United States and UNRWA intend to continue to work together throughout 2015 to enhance collaboration and communication on issues related to conformance with conditions on U.S. contributions to UNRWA as detailed in section 301(c). The United States supports UNRWA’s policy to take all possible measures to ensure that staff members understand and fulfill their obligations, under Agency Rules and Regulations, to refrain from prohibited outside activities.” This constitutes an UNRWA commitment to update its human resources manuals, nothing more. There is no mention of UNRWA’s refusal to use U.S. or Israeli terror watch lists to ensure any commitment to combat terrorism.
The unreality is compounded by the still more ludicrous statement that the U.S. “notes with appreciation efforts taken by UNRWA during the course of 2014 to strengthen the Agency’s neutrality compliance, including but not limited to the development of social media guidelines for official UNRWA communications…” Whether the UNRWA spokesman crying on camera while being interviewed constitutes “neutrality compliance” is unclear, as is the celebration of the recent Jerusalem murders of rabbis on the Facebook pages of UNRWA teachers. Perhaps it is unreasonable to expect UNRWA employees, the vast majority of whom are Palestinian, to express neutrality. But if that is the case, then the Framework’s endorsement of “UNRWA’s human rights, conflict resolution, and tolerance education program” may also be questioned, or at least its implementation. But a deeper look at the document and the background of the American commitment to UNRWA suggests another vast disconnect. The framework states “All U.S. foreign assistance programs are required to demonstrate performance and accountability, and clearly link programming and funding directly to U.S. policy goals.” How prolonging the Palestinian “refugee” issue through the permanent institutionalizing of UNRWA serves U.S. policy goals is mystifying.
Beyond that, UNRWA officials at the top continue to defend the Palestinian “right of return,” in speeches as well as on official web pages, not to mention its pervasive promotion in UNRWA schools. How does promoting the Palestinian ideology that they are entitled to return to places once occupied by parents, grandparents and great-grandparents which are now in Israel, and in the process transform Israel into a Jewish minority state, serve U.S. policy, much less the cause of peace? The new U.S.-UNRWA Framework is foreign policy by inertia. In 2013 that inertia cost $294,023,401, the amount of the U.S. contribution to UNRWA (in addition to $356,700,000 in aid to the Palestinian Authority). U.S. support to UNRWA kept Palestinians in stasis, promoted Palestinian rejectionism, and did not advance the cause of peace, or U.S. policy.
Hana Levi Julian
Jewish Press, Dec. 17, 2014
In a society where a land owner is sentenced to death for selling his property as he chooses, it is no surprise to find other freedoms lacking as well. But when the latest poll says as many as two-thirds of the population led by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority government fear criticizing their leader, Mahmoud Abbas, one has to wonder. The latest approval rating for Abbas was just 35 percent, according to analysts quoted by the Associated Press. Given those numbers, do the actions taken by the PA leadership – and more to the point, Abbas himself – truly represent the sentiment of the PA population? And if not, can the international community really trust anything said by Mahmoud Abbas?
Today (Wednesday, Dec. 17) Jordan will present a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council on behalf of the PA, demanding that Israel withdraw from all territories conquered in 1967 by November 2016, and the world body recognize the PA as a new independent sovereign country. Mind you, the PA “unity government” is comprised of a covert terror organization (Fatah) and an outright terror organization (Hamas) that is still listed as such by the United States, at least, even though the European Union wimped out this week and removed it from its own list of terror groups. In reality, the PA is ruled by two separate governments — those of Fatah and Hamas — in two completely separate regions — Judea & Samaria and Gaza. Each is completely different and separated from each other geographically and ideologically. It is true, however, they are similar in that each is ruled by its leader with an iron fist. But despite their “unity” each of the rulers is unable to enter each other’s territory without risk to life and limb, even with a bodyguard and a full security team. This chaotic administrative nightmare is supposed to be recognized by the world body as one single independent sovereign country.
Let’s pretend all that is not important anyway. It is a real stretch to believe the resolution will pass and all will happen as Abbas so fervently fantasizes, but for a brief moment in time, let us imagine it does. Who will provide security to the people of the Palestinian Authority — the actual farmers, the merchants, the simple people of the street, and their children? The PA paramilitary police? Really? Until this point, it is the Israeli army that has helped PA security personnel “keep the peace” in areas under their control. Without the IDF terrorists would have long ago overwhelmed those understaffed forces working for Abbas. Hamas would have controlled those areas of Judea and Samaria, as it does in Gaza. Let us be realistic, ladies and gentlemen, and while we are it, let us also acknowledge the truth about so-called “freedom” under Mahmoud Abbas. There is good reason so many PA Arabs are trying desperately to secure work permits for jobs in pre-1967 Israel. They also marry Negev Bedouin or Jerusalem Arabs with blue Israeli identity cards so they can stay there under “family unity” regulations. Very few Arabs pressure Israel to move that security barrier anywhere that would place their own homes within legislative reach of the Palestinian Authority. Last month Abbas jailed two leaders of the PA’s largest labor union for organizing strikes. His security agents monitor social media and threaten those who criticize the PA leader. Fatah continues its purge of Hamas members in Judea and Samaria in a manner reminiscent of that carried out in 2007 by Hamas in Gaza. Abbas has ditched the electoral process – now five years overdue – in order to remain at the helm, allegedly to prevent Hamas from seizing power in Ramallah. But the 79-year-old leader has also fired every PA prime minister or security chief that showed the potential for replacing him, including Salam Fayyad and Mohammed Dahlan. Both had positive relations with the West…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Iran Accelerates Arming of Hizbullah and Hamas for Possible Clash with Israel: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, Dec. 22, 2014—In recent months, parallel to the key stages of the nuclear negotiations, Iran has completely removed the secrecy surrounding its provision of rockets and missiles to anti-Israeli terror organizations. Today, Iran frequently and publicly acknowledges this assistance, with no fear of the West’s reaction.
Doubts Emerge Over EU Court’s Justification for Annulment of Hamas Terror Designation: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 17, 2014 —The decision of the European Union General Court to annul the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization has raised concerns that the Palestinian Islamist group will exploit any legal ambiguities over its present status to rebuild its organizational and fundraising network within Europe.
Hamas Diverting Reconstruction Material to Rebuilding Terror Tunnels: IPT News, Dec. 19, 2014 —Hamas is rebuilding its network of underground infiltration tunnels damaged in the war with Israel this past summer, the Jerusalem Post reported, citing an Israel Radio account.
'Palestinian Rights Activism' Panel Turns Perpetrators into Victims: Andrew Harrod, Jihad Watch, Dec. 18, 2014—Israel is a twenty-first century “litmus test of a real commitment to justice,” the “Vietnam,” the “South Africa,” and “moral issue of our time” according to leftwing icon Angela Davis, quoted approvingly by Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi on November 21 before an audience of about fifty.
Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.
CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.
The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.
CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.
Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research/ L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org
Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; email@example.com