The Palestinians: Why Is Abbas Running After Hamas?
Instead of searching for ways to revive the peace process with Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been busy seeking permission from Hamas to visit the Gaza Strip.
However those who think that Hamas would one day agree to cede control over the Gaza Strip are living in an illusion. It would be better for Abbas if he invested his energies in reviving the peace process instead of courting Hamas.
Abbas, who has not been able to visit the Gaza Strip ever since Hamas drove the Palestinian Authority out of the area in the summer of 2007, says he would like to travel to the Gaza Strip to talk with Hamas leaders about the establishment of a new Palestinian government that would prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections and pave the way for reconciliation between his Fatah faction and the Islamist movement.
On March 15, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of a Facebook campaign inspired by the current wave of popular uprisings sweeping through the Arab world.
In response to the campaign, Abbas immediately announced that he was prepared to go to the Gaza Strip to talk with Hamas about ways of ending the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip: he launched his initiative to travel to the Gaza Strip after calls from many Palestinians to Fatah and Hamas to end their power struggle.
His announcement, however, is seen by many Palestinians as an attempt to absorb popular discontent with the ongoing power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.
Abbas's initiative is aimed at showing Palestinians that -- contrary to Hamas allegations -- he is interested in putting an end to the dispute.
Abbas's critics argue that his initiative is nothing but a ploy intended for local consumption because he does not want to be held responsible for obstructing "national unity."
But other Palestinians say that Abbas's plan is also designed to send a message to the Americans and Europeans that unless they step up pressure on Israel he will have to join forces with Hamas.
The Palestinian leader wants the US and EU to force Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians, including a complete cessation of construction in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods. The message he is sending to the Americans and Europeans is: Get me all that you can from Israel or else I will go to Hamas.
Abbas's initiative could also be directed against Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, whom he asked a few weeks ago to form a new government.
Abbas's offer to discuss with Hamas the formation of a new government came while Fayyad continues to negotiate with representatives of various Palestinian political factions about the formation of a new cabinet. Some Palestinians are wondering whether Abbas is trying to bypass or marginalize his prime minister.
In the meantime, Hamas leaders also appear to be suspicious of Abbas's true intentions. Many Hamas leaders have dismissed his initiative as a "conspiracy" aimed at undermining the Islamist movement's authority in the Gaza Strip. Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, has even gone as far as threatening to assassinate Abbas if he dares to set foot in the Gaza Strip.
Whatever his motives are, it is obvious that Abbas is just wasting precious time.
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by Khaled Abu Toameh
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Fatah accused Hamas of "squandering" $700 million of financial aid earmarked for the Palestinian victims of war. Fatah wants to ensure that the millions of dollars intended for the Gaza Strip will pass through its hands and not end up in Hamas's bank accounts. Relying on Fatah in this regard is like asking a cat to guard the milk.
The head of the Palestinian Authority's Anti-Corruption Commission revealed that his group has retrieved $70 million of public funds fund embezzled by Palestinian officials. Arab and Western donors need to make sure that their money does not end up (once again) in the wrong hands. Without a proper mechanism of accountability and transparency, hundreds of millions of dollars are likely to find their way into the bank accounts of both Hamas and Fatah leaders.
by Mudar Zahran
"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.
"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.
"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.
"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student
"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.
"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.
by Ben Cohen
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That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10, is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.
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One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."
Another Muslim cleric in a madrassa [Islamic boys' school] describes child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah that we have an unlimited number willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."
Using children as suicide bombers will stop when... they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."
by Denis MacEoin
"No religion condones the killing of innocents." — U.S. President Barack Obama, September 10, 2014.
"Islam is a religion of peace." — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, September 13, 2014.
"There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam." — U.K. Imam Anjem Choudary, CBN News, April 5, 2010.
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur'an in a "moderate" manner. The most famous modern interpretation by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
If they deviated from the true faith -- as we are seeing in the Islamic State today -- "backsliders," like pagans, were to be fought until they either accepted Islam or were killed.
In India alone, between 60 and 80 million Hindus may have been put to death by Muslim armies between the years 1000-1525.