Archive for the ‘Hamas’ Category

Israeli Tanks Move into Gaza; Mortar, Rocket Fire from Palestinian Militants

November 18, 2008

Israeli tanks forged into the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, drawing mortar fire from Palestinian militants and intensifying violence that has chipped away at a tenuous cease-fire.

By IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer

Israel and Hamas have been trading fire for two weeks after nearly five months of relative quiet. The June 19 truce is due to expire next month, and both sides might be trying to dictate more favorable terms in anticipation of the agreement’s renewal.

The Israeli military described the activity as “a routine operation to uncover explosive devices near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip.” It said two mortars were fired at troops, causing no injuries or damage.

Militant groups said they fired both mortars and rockets.

Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in a protest in Gaza ... 
Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in a protest in Gaza November 18, 2008. The rally on Tuesday was organized by the Hamas movement against the arrest of Hamas members by the security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA)

The tanks, backed by a bulldozer and military jeep, rumbled about a quarter-mile into the tiny seaside strip, residents and Gaza security officials said. Residents said they leveled lands along the border east of the city of Rafah. It was the first ground action in a week.

The tanks did not respond to the Palestinian fire.

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Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Says Wars Unlikely As World Watches Obama’s First Steps

November 18, 2008

The probability of a war between Israel and its enemies over the next year is low, military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said Monday.

By The Associated Press
Jerusalem Post

 

Above: Military Intelligence Chief Maj. -Gen. Amos Yadlin.

Speaking Monday at Tel Aviv University, he said the world is waiting to see how the financial crisis plays out, and how the new US administration deals with the threat from Iran. He said Iran is Israel’s main threat, calling it “the regime with radical ideology and radical weapons.”

Yadlin surmised that Syria might make peace with Israel, but only if Israel gives in to all Syria’s demands, though even then, Syria would not cut ties with terror groups.

On the Israelן-Palestinian conflict, Yadlin said that Israel could deal with two entities, working toward peace with Fatah in the West Bank while confronting Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.

Last month, Yadlin told the cabinet that if Israel’s indirect talks with Syria were aimed at testing whether it might be possible to pull Damascus out of Iran and Hizbullah’s orbits, then so far the test had failed.

Despite the talks, not only has Damascus not lessened its cooperation with Hizbullah, it has actually stepped up its relationship with the organization.

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Hamas fires heavier rockets at Israel

November 14, 2008

Hamas Islamists fired their longest-range rockets at a southern Israeli city on Friday after an Israeli air force attack on their Gaza stronghold, in the 11th day of skirmishes threatening a five-month-old truce.

By Abed Shana, Reuters

Israeli soldiers stand atop a tank outside Kibbutz Kissufim ...
Israeli soldiers stand atop a tank outside Kibbutz Kissufim near the Gaza border November 13, 2008.(Amir Cohen/Reuters)

The armed wing of the Islamist group said it fired five Grad rockets at an Israeli city, the longest-range weapon it has claimed to shoot at the Jewish state.

Israel and Hamas blamed each other for the flare-up.

“Hamas is directly responsible for the escalation in the violence,” said Israeli spokesman Mark Regev. “Israel had wanted to see the calm that prevailed until recently prevail once again. But Hamas … are seeking a dangerous escalation.”

A Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Zahar, said “self-defense and resistance” would continue, but as far as Hamas was concerned the truce was still on, provided Israel wanted it.

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Israel urges Biden not to go soft on Iran, Hamas

November 11, 2008

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni urged US vice president Joe Biden in a telephone call to keep up a tough line on Iran and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, her ministry said on Monday.

“Iran, Hamas and other extremists are testing our attitude, and they must understand that the world will not be tolerant towards extremists and terrorism,” she said.

“It is of the utmost importance that we keep up our coordination against the Iranian threat because time is not on the side of the moderates,” she was quoted as saying in the call initiated by Biden, according to the ministry.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (R), Foreign Minister Tzipi ... 
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (R), Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (C) and Defence Minister Ehud Barak attend a memorial parliament session in Jerusalem. Livni urged US vice president Joe Biden in a telephone call to keep up a tough line on Iran and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, her ministry said on Monday.(AFP/Pool/Eliana Aponte)

AFP

Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Friday issued a thinly veiled call for the United States not to rule out the possibility of a military strike against Iran because of its nuclear ambitions.

“We don’t rule out any option. We recommend others don’t rule out any option either,” Barak told journalists after talks with visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Tehran denies it wants nuclear weapons, and says its atomic project is purely peaceful.

The previous day, Livni herself said that possible US talks with Iran may be problematic, highlighting possible disagreements with a Barack Obama administration.

“Dialogue at this point may be interpreted as a sign of weakness,” she said.

President-elect Obama warned during a visit to Israel in July that a nuclear Iran would pose a “grave threat,” but he also reiterated his openness to meeting Tehran’s representatives if the conditions were right.

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Bush’s successor faces Mideast conflicts

October 19, 2008

By Joshua Mitnick
The Washington Times

TEL AVIV | The next U.S. president will inherit two live tracks of Arab-Israeli negotiations and may find himself weighing in on internal Palestinian politics as well.

Though experts believe that the global financial crisis will knock the Arab-Israeli conflict down on the new administration’s priority list, both U.S. candidates have promised to continue the elusive search for Middle East peace.

A deadline set by the Bush administration for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord by the end of this year is widely considered to be unachievable. The next president will decide whether to extend the negotiating framework inaugurated by President Bush last year, try something new or put the process on the back burner.

While there has been a lull in Israeli-Palestinian fighting, political conditions for an accord are far from ideal. The Israeli government is in transition, while the Palestinian Authority remains weak and at odds with a breakaway Hamas-led regime in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, there has been only modest progress on confidence-building measures such as relaxing Israeli military restrictions and boosting the Palestinian economy.

Will the new U.S. president choose to invest precious political capital on a diplomatic long shot?

Ignoring the problem risks giving a moral victory to Hamas, Hezbollah and their Iranian allies, who will point to expanding Israeli settlements and the Israeli separation barrier as evidence that a Palestinian state in the West Bank is an illusion.

“Time is kind of running out. Things are getting worse. We’ve got to do something about the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Steven Cook, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. On the other hand, he said, “Why would he [the next president] want to get involved with something so hopeless?”

Neither Democrat Barack Obama nor Republican John McCain has specified how they would reinvigorate the peace process. Instead, the candidates have offered differing views of the regional consequences of not resolving the conflict which hint at the priority each might place on pushing forward negotiations.

Mr. Obama has spoken more emphatically about the urgency of a resolution, describing the status quo as “unsustainable.” Echoing the views of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Obama…

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/19/bushs-successor-faces-tough-choices-in-mideast/

Carter: Hamas is willing to accept Israel as its neighbor

April 21, 2008

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM – Former President Carter said Monday that Hamas — the Islamic militant group that has called for the destruction of Israel — is prepared to accept the right of the Jewish state to “live as a neighbor next door in peace.”

But Carter warned that there would not be peace if Israel and the U.S. continue to shut out Hamas and its main backer, Syria.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter delivers a speech during ... 
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter delivers a speech during a meeting held by the Israeli Council of Foreign Relations in Jerusalem, Monday, April 21, 2008. Carter said Monday that Hamas is prepared to accept the right of Israel to ‘live as a neighbor next door in peace.’(AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

The Democratic former president relayed the message in a speech in Jerusalem after meeting last week with top Hamas leaders in Syria. It capped a nine-day visit to the Mideast aimed at breaking the deadlock between Israel and Hamas militants who rule the Gaza Strip.

“They (Hamas) said that they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, if approved by Palestinians and that they would accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor next door in peace,” Carter said.

The borders he referred to were the frontiers that existed before Israel captured large swaths of Arab lands in the 1967 Mideast war — including the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.

In the past, Hamas officials have said they would establish a “peace in stages” if Israel were to withdraw to the borders it held before 1967. But it has been evasive about how it sees the final borders of a Palestinian state and has not abandoned its official call for Israel’s destruction.

Israel, which evacuated Gaza in 2005, has accepted the idea of a Palestinian state there and in much of the West Bank. But it has resisted Palestinian demands that it return to its 1967 frontiers.

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Taking cue from Hezbollah, Hamas honing fighting force

April 21, 2008

By Joshua Mitnick
The Washington Times
April 21, 2008

TEL AVIV — Israeli analysts say a series of strikes against Israeli outposts on the border with the Gaza Strip indicates Hamas has improved its fighting capability, aspiring to repeat Hezbollah’s successes in Lebanon.
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Palestinian militants have launched five attacks on or near Israeli-run border crossings into Gaza in less than two weeks. Thirteen soldiers were injured Saturday in a car bombing at the Kerem Shalom crossing, a few days after three soldiers were killed in an ambush on the Palestinian side of the border near the Nahal Oz crossing.

Palestinians carry the body of Hamas militant Mohammed Abdelrahman, ...
Palestinians carry the body of Hamas militant Mohammed Abdelrahman, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike on Saturday, during his funeral in the northern Gaza Strip April 20, 2008. Israeli air strikes killed five Hamas gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, hours after militants from the Islamist group drove bomb-laden vehicles into an Israeli border crossing.REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah (GAZA)

“We’ve never seen anything like this attack since the disengagement” from Gaza in 2005, said Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant after the Saturday attack. “Its purpose was mass killing and the kidnapping of soldiers.” The attacks on the Israeli crossing terminals along the fence, say observers, are designed to draw attention to Israel economic blockade around the Gaza Strip, which has been all but sealed by Israel.
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Israeli officials claim that by targeting crossing terminals, which transmit humanitarian and basic supplies, Hamas is cynically worsening the hardship of the blighted economy of 1.4 million people.
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However, observers in Gaza say residents generally support the attacks.
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Hezbollah is seen as the Arab world’s one fighting force that has succeeded against Israel’s army where national militaries have failed, having forced Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000 and fought Israel to a draw in the 2006 war in Lebanon.
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Hamas, which Israel says has sent military officers to Hezbollah-patron Iran for training, has increased its fighting force and organized it into regional brigades with disciplined soldiers.

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Citizen Carter’s ego trip

April 20, 2008

By Oliver North
The Washington Times
April 20, 2008

Your strength can compensate for my weakness, and your wisdom can help to minimize my mistakes.

Jimmy Carter, Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1977

More than 31 years after he uttered those words, America is still trying to compensate for and minimize Mr. Carter’s mistakes and weaknesses — the greatest of which appears to be hubris. This week, our much-traveled 39th president ventured as a “private citizen” to the Middle East on a self-described mission “exploring possibilities for peace.”
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Regrettably, what citizen Mr. Carter has succeeded in doing is to encourage our nation’s adversaries, lend credibility to terrorists who have killed our countrymen and disparaged a beleaguered ally.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, right, is greeted by Jordanian ... 
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, right, is greeted by Jordanian foreign Ministry secretary general Khaldoun Talhoni, left, at Queen Alia International airport in Amman, Jordan, Sunday, April 20, 2008. On his Middle East tour Carter has met exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in the Syrian capital despite strong opposition from Israel and the White House. (AP Photo/Jamal Nasrallah. Pool)

Mr. Carter’s current sojourn in personal diplomacy is just his most recent foreign foray in post-presidential folly since being voted out of office in Ronald Reagan’s 1980 landslide. During his global quest for relevance, he rarely missed an opportunity to denigrate our country’s interests, helping him to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. But this week’s expedition to Jerusalem, the West Bank, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia may prove to be the most damaging excursion yet.
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Despite his claims, Mr. Carter is no “neutral observer.” In June 1994 the former president went to Pyongyang to broker a failed nuclear disarmament deal with North Korean despot Kim Il-jung. In 2002, he deigned to dignify the brutal, bearded butcher of Havana — Fidel Castro. While in the “island paradise” he disparaged America’s commitment to human rights and praised Cuba’s education and health-care systems.
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In 2006, he and his self-appointed “impartial arbiters” declared “legitimate” the Palestinian elections that brought Hamas to power in Gaza. Later that same year in his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” — he declared “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land.”

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Carter meets Hamas chief over Israeli, US objections

April 18, 2008

By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Writer

DAMASCUS, Syria – Former President Carter met Friday with the exiled leader of Hamas and the militant group’s deputy chief, men the U.S. government has labeled as global terrorists and Israel accuses of masterminding suicide bombings and kidnappings.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, left, meets with Syrian ...
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, left, meets with Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, at the Presidential palace in Damascus, Syria, on Friday, April 18, 2008. Carter met Friday with Syrian President Bashar Assad and later with the exiled leader of Hamas, a day after he had asked senior officials from the militant Palestinian group he met in Egypt to stop rocket attacks into Israel. No media was allowed at the Hamas meeting. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)

Carter’s meeting with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal followed two other meetings between the former American president and the Palestinian militant group in the Middle East this week. Hamas officials say the meetings have lent their group legitimacy.

Mashaal’s deputy Moussa Abu Marzouk attended the meeting with Carter at Mashaal’s Damascus office, a Hamas official at the site told The Associated Press. Abu Marzouk was designated a terrorist by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1995, allowing the government to seize his assets. He was detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York that same year and spent two years in a New York jail before he was deported in 1997.

Carter’s convoy arrived at Mashaal’s office for the meeting under tight security and reporters were prevented from getting near the site. The meeting was closed to all media.

The U.S. State Department twice advised Carter against meeting Hamas….

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Obama Camp ‘Flattered’ by Hamas Compliment as Jimmy Carter Visits

April 18, 2008

By Aaron Klein

WorldNetDaily
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Barack Obama’s campaign said yesterday it is “flattered” that Hamas’ endorsement of the Illinois senator compared him to John F. Kennedy, though it objects to any diplomatic contact with the terrorist group.“I like John Kennedy too,” said chief Obama strategist David Axelrod.

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Jimmy Carter Calls on Hamas

(CBS/AP) Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met a Hamas delegation from Gaza Thursday, part of a series of talks with the Islamic militant group that has drawn sharp criticism from U.S. and Israeli officials.

Carter spoke with Hamas officials in the West Bank Wednesday and angered Israelis when he embraced one of them. He plans to meet the group’s exiled political chief, Khaled Mashaal, in Damascus, Syria on Friday.

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