U.S. State Department Strengthening Hamas
The Emir of Qatar's visit to the Gaza Strip is a huge diplomatic victory for Hamas and a severe blow to the moderate Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority. The emir did not come to the Gaza Strip to try to persuade Hamas to abandon terror and recognize Israel's right to exist. Nor did he come to the Gaza Strip to tell Hamas to endorse democracy and stop its oppressive measures against Palestinians, especially women.
The U.S. Administration has sought to downplay the significance of this week's visit to the Gaza Strip by the Emir of Qatar, Hamad al-Thani.
"We have seen the reports that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa visits Gaza today on a humanitarian mission," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "We share Qatar's deep concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people, including those residing in Gaza."
Many Palestinians, especially the Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank, do not share the U.S. Administration's position regarding the emir's visit.
Palestinian Authority leaders do not see the visit as a "humanitarian mission," but as an attempt to strengthen Hamas.
In fact, the high-profile visit of the emir and his wife to the Gaza Strip was anything but a "humanitarian mission."
This was a visit that has political and economic implications, not only for the Palestinians, but for the entire region as well.
True, the emir promised to invest $400 million in various projects in the Gaza Strip. It remains to be seen if the Qatari ruler will fulfill his promise.
The timing of the visit raises many questions and sheds light as to the emir's true motives.
Qatar has always been supportive not only of Hamas, but Muslim Brotherhood and many jihadi organizations.
If Qatar really had "deep concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people," where was the emir during the past seven years?
As the emir himself pointed out during the visit, it was the so-called Arab Spring -- which has seen the rise of Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries over the past two years - that paved the way for his visit to the Gaza Strip.
"Were it not for the Egyptian revolution and President Mohamed Morsi," the emir said, "the visit would not have taken place."
The emir came to the Gaza Strip to offer not only financial aid to Hamas, but also moral and political backing. The visit, the first of its kind by a head of state to the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized control over the area in 2007, was aimed at helping the Islamist movement break the state of isolation in which it has been since then.
The emir did not come to the Gaza Strip to try to persuade Hamas to abandon terror and recognize Israel's right to exist. Nor did he come to the Gaza Strip to tell Hamas to endorse democracy and stop its oppressive measures against Palestinians, particularly women.
The emir's visit is a huge diplomatic victory for Hamas and a severe blow to moderate Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian leaders in the West Bank were quick to express deep disappointment with the emir's visit, rightly arguing that it would only enhance Hamas's standing and empower the radical camp among the Palestinians.
The emir's visit also means that the Gaza Strip has become a separate Palestinian entity that has no link to the West Bank's Palestinian Authority, and which is capable of conducting its running its own economy and foreign policy.
The visit has actually solidified the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, turning Abbas's effort to establish an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines into a fantasy; if he tried to establish a Palestinian state on the West Bank alone, would be accused of "abandoning" the dream of creating a full, united, Palestinian state, and of dividing Palestine into two states.
Finally, the emir's visit to the Gaza Strip also serves Qatar's wish of becoming a major player in the region as well as in the Israeli-Arab conflict. Syria, Iran and Egypt, countries which once used to have enormous influence over Hamas, have been pushed aside by Qatar's ruler and his promise of big checks.
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Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."
by Burak Bekdil
A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.
Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.
by Bassam Tawil
What is sad is that the Gazans have not yet been able to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas.
The world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel that threatens the Arab and Muslim world and the major cities of Europe.
The Western world also seems not to understand that it has to incapacitate or totally neutralize the countries funding terrorism, such as Iran, Qatar and Turkey, for whom the Palestinian problem is only a pretext on the way to destroying the Western world as we know it and replacing it with only Islam.
by Burak Bekdil
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said: "All Israelis are legitimate targets." What would the Palestinian death toll have been if Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman declared all Palestinians as legitimate targets?
Underdog-nation romanticism tells us Israel should not respond when under rocket attack because it is capable of intercepting the rockets.
That there are fewer Israeli casualties does not mean Hamas does not want to kill; it just means, for the moment, Hamas cannot kill.
by Soeren Kern
Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group's five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.
"The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist." — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.
"Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria." — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.
"We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions." — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.