Top 5 reasons why Israel is attacking Gaza

By Alex,

.
Number 5: Hamas was launching rockets into southern Israel.

Although very few of these missiles hit a target and very few Israelis died as a result of those attacks, the rockets are a source of psychological stress as Israelis living in the affected areas had to live in constant fear.

Number 4: The attacks were a part of Israel’s strategy to ensure the utter failure of Hamas in governing the Palestinian people who elected Hamas in 2006 to lead them.

From day 1, Israel made life very difficult for anyone living in Gaza under Hamas’ leadership. Israel is not alone in this project. Many westerners also believe that Arabs who elect a hardline Islamist party at some point in the future should never forget the painful failed experiment of electing Hamas.

225 Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured on day1 of Israel's attack

Number 3: To help America’s weak Arab allies

The “Moderate Arab” leaders and rulers needed to reduce the collective weight of their adversaries in the Syria/Iran/Hizbollah/Hamas coalition. Egypt lost its patience with Hamas recently after the popular Palestinian group did not sign an Egyptian mediated agreement for settling Fatah/Hamas differences. Hamas’ leadership made it clear to the Egyptians that within the complicated regional power competition, Hamas is firmly committed to Syria. Egypt got the message: if you want to play a role in Palestinian affairs, it is still possible, but you need to coordinate with Syria. Alhayat reported this week that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told visiting French prime minister that “Syria and Iran control Hamas .. Syria blocked Egypt’s efforts to reach an agreement between Fatah and Hamas”

In 2006, it was widely believed that both Egypt and Saudi Arabia wanted to see Israel succeed in destroying Hizbollah. Today, many Arabs interviewed on Aljazeera were already accusing Egypt of giving Israel an Arab green light to finish off Hamas.

A week ago, seven thousand Israeli policemen had to do a “training exercise” that was described by Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police, as “a huge police training exercise to prepare for riot control and to deal with different scenarios“.

Number 2: To cool down Arab and international pressure on Israel. Pressure to live up to the high expectations at this advanced stage of the Peace process with Syria and with the Palestinians.

Since Israel made the decision to give Sinai back to Egypt, 4 years after the relatively challenging 1973 war, Israel always found a way to get out of peace negotiations that were nearing success. Prime ministers get kicked out of office for corruption, others are killed by extremists, and the uncertainties of Israeli politics takes care of the rest.

After this week’s blood bath in Gaza is over, the Syrians will find it difficult to negotiate with Israel and the Arabs would find it difficult to continue to promote their “Arab peace initiative”.

Israel is not ready for the price of peace.

Number 1: Some Israeli and Bush administration hardliners want a last chance to draw Hizbollah into another confrontation with Israel before President Bush is out of office.

Israel is too proud to be able to live with the fact that Hizbollah defeated its army during its invasion of Lebanon in 2006. Assassinating Hizbollah’s Imad Mughnyieh was supposed to lead to a Hizbollah retaliation against some Israeli diplomats outside the Middle East after which Israel would have a reason to go after Hizbollah again. Hizbollah promised to retaliate, but did not make that mistake.

Israel is trying again to make it difficult for Hizbollah to not get involved.

Comments (59)


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1. Joe M. said:

Alex,
You are wrong on this. The main reasons Israel did this attack are:

1) There was building domestic (both popular and official) pressure in Israel to “deal” with Hamas, as Hamas is recognized as being uncompromising towards Israel. This makes Hamas a legitimate “existential threat” to Israel (in Israel’s eyes). Therefore, Israel believes it has a right to attack Hamas any way and any time they want. The timing of this was simply at a politically acceptable time, as the “ceasefire” expired and there were a few rockets coming. (Note: I do not mean this attack had anything to do with the Hamas rockets, but with Hamas itself as a whole. Also they only have a few weeks left of Bush, and they have an election coming).

2) Now that Israel has fully compromised Fatah, Israel is watching developments in the West Bank very closely. It is an important test for the Israel/Fatah relationship. It is important for Israel to determine whether Fatah will continue to enforce Israel’s security over the interests of the Palestinian people. And as such, to determine whether Fatah can be sufficiently armed and trained to put Hamas down in the longer run. Just watch and see, I am confident that after they finish these attacks, if they believe they have done significant damage, Israel will make a major effort to topple Hamas in Gaza (most likely through the help of Egypt and Saudi) and replace them with some Fatah/Israeli conservatorship of Gaza.

3) The domestic political pressure was too much for Israel not do some terrorist attack against the Palestinians. Recent polls have shown the right-wing parties gaining even more power in the next elections, and there were rocket attacks Israel happening. So the Kadima government is officially admitting that the right-wing is correct and that negotiations have not worked. So it is a rejection of the previous method of playing soft.

I will just add a couple negative points here:
* International pressure played no role whatsoever. In fact, Israel has been consistently increasing the hardship of the Gaza population lately, and they were even rewarded by the EU with an upgrade of diplomatic relations. There was no international or Arab pressure on Israel, and even if there was, it would not be a factor in their decision-making.

* You are utterly fooling yourself if you think that the negotiations with Syria/Lebanon were serious. They were an intelligence gathering effort by the Zionists. To determine what Syria was willing to give, and find out whether it was possible to break Syria from Hizbullah and Iran. When it became totally clear that it was not, then Israel ended the negotiations. But this was not a factor in this fight. Israel already knows that Hizbullah can’t take the chance of a renewed fight (considering the coming Lebanese elections and the damage they suffered politically from the last war). Syria and Iran obviously have no ability to make war with Israel. Point being, those were not active factors, but passive factors in Israel’s decision to attack. They were lower level considerations, not primary ones…

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December 28th, 2008, 9:36 am

 

2. offended said:

I challenge anyone to stare at the above photo for 5 minutes and not get a headache!

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December 28th, 2008, 9:38 am

 

3. Alex said:

Dear Joe M.

I think you did a good job explaining my number 5 (first point) in detail.

As for the other four, I disagree with you … I think you read me too quickly. International expectations from Israel are always there when peace negotiations near their fruition.

Many Europeans are (were?) already planning for post-peace strategies. I know you are waiting for the day when you can tell me that I was a fool to believe that peace between Syria and Israel was possible, but again, I don’t think you understood my position on this issue. I always thought that for now it is a 50/50 chance that Syria can not afford not to go for even though we know there is too much uncertainty in Israel.

I wrote many times that Syria is interested in peace, and in the process alone … if Israel does not want to go until the end, then Syria will lose nothing.

As for this intelligence gathering process … I think we know what we want to say and what we do not want to say during those indirect talks or elsewhere. We’ve been in on and off negotiations with Israel since 1991.

As for my point about Hizbollah … you don’t have to agree with me, but please read Lebanese news today … Their prime minister, Mr. Seniora made a statement reaffirming his country’s commitment to UN resolution 1701 and he explained that he will not allow anyone in Lebanon to not abide by it .. which is a warning to Hizbollah not to act.

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sc8808.doc.htm

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December 28th, 2008, 9:52 am

 

4. abu zatar said:

6) israel cannot leave in Peace, is a permanent state of terror and war. Peace means the end of the zionist dream (the failure of the “biblical great israel”, the dream of zionists) and the end of millions of dollars in donations from the diasporas (that increase every time israel is at war). Only war and permanent danger (“existential threat”) unite jews, that’s why they have to live with a permanent threat or enemy (PLO, Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, Arabs etc…). And do not forget the basic racist ideology at the base of zionism. Even if they destroy all Arab and anti israeli resistance and subjugate neighbors, Israel will not leave in peace, because there is a psychological Freudian complex inside every Israeli jew, is the fact they are living in stolen houses, in a land who belongs to others. That’s why they have a double passport, citizenship and loyalty, ready to go back in Europe, Russia or Usa when the zionist “dream”(nightmare) will lose his energy and appeal.

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December 28th, 2008, 10:10 am

 

5. Understanding Gaza « Syria News Wire said:

[...] explanation: Top 5 reasons why Israel is attacking Gaza. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)JVP [...]

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December 28th, 2008, 1:24 pm

 

6. Ghassan said:

I agree with you and would like to ask the “full-men” regimes (Syria and Iran) and Hizballah what they will do now in response to the Israeli agression!

Are they going to just talk?

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December 28th, 2008, 3:30 pm

 

7. Stuart said:

Israeli air force reported this morning in Lebanese airspace in breach of resolution 1702. If that isn’t an attempt to provoke Hezbollah, then what is the intent?
mydailyclarity.com

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December 28th, 2008, 3:40 pm

 

8. norman said:

Syria suspends indirect peace talks with Israel

The Associated Press
Sunday, December 28, 2008
DAMASCUS, Syria: A Syrian government official says that Damascus has decided to suspend its indirect peace talks with Israel because of the Jewish state’s attacks in Gaza.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, says “Israel’s aggression closes all the doors” to any move toward a settlement in the region.

Israel and Syria held four rounds of indirect negotiations in Turkey after the peace talks were launched in May. The talks were suspended when Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced he would step down earlier this year.

Last Monday, Syria’s President Bashar Assad said he believes direct peace talks with Israel are possible and that they will eventually take place.

Correction:

——————————————————————————–
Notes:

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Copyright © 2008 The International Herald Tribune | http://www.iht.com

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December 28th, 2008, 3:43 pm

 

9. Solomon2 said:

>>Israeli air force reported this morning in Lebanese airspace in breach of resolution 1702. If that isn’t an attempt to provoke Hezbollah, then what is the intent?

Looking for more rockets, I imagine. Who do you think does the aerial surveillance for UNIFIL?

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December 28th, 2008, 4:12 pm

 

10. sam said:

Today, I’m almost embarrassed to call myself an Arab. I can’t believe the silence that is coming from the free world as well. Doesn’t this make you sick to your stomach. And what is worse, is Hamas did adhere to the cease fire, Isreal broke it numerous times, they never implimented one thing to keep their side committed to the cease fire. On every news channel in America, they only blame Hamas. I may quit my job. and work under the table, so my taxes aren’t used to kill Arabs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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December 28th, 2008, 4:22 pm

 

11. pamela said:

. I would like to say that this attack wouldn,t have happened without the green light being given by Gazas own neighbours . Mubarak , Abdullah the tall and Abdullah the short ..who are without any germ of honour , humanity or respect .
The Israelis have used this opportunity to show their population that they can be as brutal as they are wanted to be , as blood thirsty , as cruel as they can be . But the Arab leaders are as bad or even worse by crying crocodile tears and really hoping Israel will do the dirty work for them …
I dont, know how the people in Gaza have managed so far , they have extraordinary courage and patience , God save them . The scenes are heart wrenching, i only hope all the world will see what we see and wake up and give justice to the people in Gaza…
One last point , the smallest child in Gaza has more guts , balls , courage than any top gun Isreali terrorist fighter pilot using his flying death machine to massacre innocents , again God save the people in Gaza and give them the power to overcome this attack ..

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December 28th, 2008, 4:50 pm

 

12. Zak said:

Israel never wanted peace. On June 19th 2008 Palestinians agreed on a ceasefire, not rockets in exchange for allowing humanitarian aid and gas to enter Gaza, and open borders for sick people to get treatment outside Gaza and for students to be able to return to their schools.

Palestinians were committed to the agreement, Israel was not. The closure continued, 29 Palestinians were killed in the six-months of the truce, so Palestinians groups launched rockets as a retaliation. On Dec 19th the Palestinians said they will not renew the ceasefire until Israel show the well to commit to it, but they did not launch any rockets towards Israel, Israel killed six more Palestinians, Palestinians started launching rockets, and then stopped, no Israel got killed or hurt, and Israel attacked and killed this very hight number of Palestinians in one day (Highest since 1967). What made Israel do that? I really don’t think the main reason for Israel attack was the rockets, I think the main reason is the Israeli elections in Feb 2009, it’s the time for Israeli parties to show who is more hardliner than the rest so they can win the elections.

People who blame Palestinians for electing Hamas should remember this, and also remember that back in 1940s Jews (They were not called Israelis until May 1948) elected members in Zionists organizations like Hagana, Shtern, etc whom were considered terrorists, who assassinated UN envoy, and killed over 80 people many were civilians in their attack on King David hotel, in addition to many other attacks, and use the same scale when they judge on the Arab Israeli conflict.

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December 28th, 2008, 5:02 pm

 

13. Nour said:

Thank you Joe M, Abu Zatar, and SAM, at least there are still some people here that still have some sense left in them and are not being deluded by the so-called “peace” process and continuous “Israeli” and US propaganda. “Israel” was the side that was continually breaching the ceasefire agreement precisely because it wanted an excuse to attack Gaza. Tzipi Livni herself clearly stated before that “Israel” does not want a prolonged ceasefire with Hamas because they do not want to lose their state of perpetual war with the region, as that would destroy their Zionist dream, as Abu Zatar explained.

Alex,

If “Israel” attacked Gaza because of the rocket attacks, then why would they have breached the ceasefire to begin with? Why would they not have maintained the ceasefire so that Hamas is not forced to retaliate to “israeli” terrorism? As for the “peace” process, you should know very well that the chances of peace are not 50/50, they are rather 0. “Israel” is not, nor has it ever been, interested in peace. They are interested in surrender and subjugation. If Syria agrees to surrender and submit to “Israeli” demands then and only then would you see an actual “peace” agreement. But because Syria has shown a stubbornness in holding on to its national rights, “Israel” will not proceed with the negotiations. But guess who will be blamed for the failed “negotiations”? That’s right; Syria will. And that will be used as an excuse to continue international pressure against Syria, just as Hamas is blamed for the breakdown in the ceasefire agreement, even though it is “israel” who breached it several times.

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December 28th, 2008, 5:04 pm

 

14. Zack said:

@Pamela, your point “The Israelis have used this opportunity to show their population that they can be as brutal as they are wanted to be , as blood thirsty , as cruel as they can be ” is totally correct. A quick look at Israeli web site and blogs will show you that they are all blood thirsty.

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December 28th, 2008, 5:07 pm

 

15. Nur al-Cubicle said:

Rome’s La Repubblica newspaper reports that the Syrians have ended informal talks with Syria on Golan. It also reports that the Israelis have dropped a few bombs on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza. Zippy Livni wants to show that she is tougher than Beebee Netanyahu.

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December 28th, 2008, 5:08 pm

 

16. pamela said:

A few days ago Damascus was buzzing with the “peace ” word. Of course now this has all changed. The Israelis dont want peace and never have , unless its on their terms as Nour pointed out. They love to cry “foul!” everytime any Arab shows some stubborness and dont give in to them . Sadly there arnt many Arab leaders who stand up to them ..their backsides are well and truly stuck to their chairs of office…but one day their reckoning will come and woe betide them!!!

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December 28th, 2008, 5:42 pm

 

17. majid said:

Alex said: “The attacks were a part of Israel’s strategy to ensure the utter failure of Hamas in governing the Palestinian people who elected Hamas in 2006 to lead them.”

What’s wrong with Israel’s strategy, Alex? We all know Hamas is an organization of Muslim Brotherhood. Even Syria suffered at the hands of these groups – you know Hama, Aleppo and the eighties in Syria.
So why shouldn’t Israel take similar steps to protect itself against such organization?
Besides all Arab States including Syria agree that Muslim Brothers should not achieve political power because that’s all they care about and are willing to do anything (including terrorism) to achieve their power seeking goal.
Yesterday, I was reading a newspaper. A headline caught my attention which says “Two Palestinian girls were killed in a rocket attack.” At first I thought the rockets were fired by Israelis. So, I went on and read the rest of the article. The rockets were actually Qassams fired by Hamas!!!

It looks like a tragedy created by none other than an ignorant group of so-called elected leaders who allowed Iran and Syria to use the plight of the Palestinians for an agenda which is not suitable for the Middle East and the well being of its people.

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December 28th, 2008, 5:59 pm

 

18. offended said:

………

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December 28th, 2008, 6:06 pm

 

19. Akbar Palace said:

Alex,

#1) There are no Isrealis in the Bush administration. Sorry, you’ve been misinformed. What is a “hardliner”? Maybe Obama is a hardlin,er too?

#2) I believe the opposite. Arab and international pressure will increase on Israel.

#3) I don’t this flare-up chages the status of the “moderate arabs”. It doesn’t help or hinder them.

#4) Hamas has failed miserably all by themselves. Perhaps, one day, they be held responsible for their actions.

#5) This is the most likely reason for Israel’s reponse. One day, some people will consider rocket fire into Israel as rocket fire into any other country like the US,, Canada, Japan, France, or India. It is unacceptable.

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December 28th, 2008, 6:30 pm

 

20. Ghat Albird said:

These two quotes say it all of what the Israelis with almost unanimous support from the Bush administration classify Arabs in general and Palestenians in particular.

“One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” – Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, Feb. 27, 1994 in N.Y. Times, Feb. 28, 1994, p. 1.

“The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more.” – Ehud Barak, current Israeli Minister of Defense, in the Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2000.

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December 28th, 2008, 6:30 pm

 

21. norman said:

It is clear that our optimism for peace is just a dream and the people who never thought that peace can be achieved and rights are obtained without war are correct , so it is time to prepare for a long term war that will force the Israelis into migration ,

It seems clear now the reason that Iran was never worry about peace between Syria and Israel, with their foresight they saw the intentions of Israel and had faith in Syria’s wisdom not to be trapped by sweet words.

On Aljazeera a writer is calling to attack the Jewish individuals and organizations world wide as they are the real support for Israel and it’s racist policies.

What Israel did in the last few days and what it intend to do in the future is going to make it clear to the Arabs and Muslims that resistance and war is the only way to get the Arab rights , It will increase Al Qaeda recruitment and support .

the intention of the war in Gaza could be to preempt any chance Obama has to change course ,
If Israel fails to destroy Hamas as they failed to destroy Hezbollah Hamas will come out stronger and might give the Israeli public a way to talk to Hamas , we have to remember that Israel only responds to defeat.

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December 28th, 2008, 7:08 pm

 

22. norman said:

Sunday, December 28, 2008
The Wahhabi-Zionist Alliance
The Saudi-Zionist alliance deepens. Back in 2006, the Saudi royal family endorsed the Israeli war on Lebanon. I looked at Saudi media yesterday, and it is very clear that the Saudi-Hariri media are supporting (implicitly because they fear their own people) the Israeli war on Gaza. If you look at the Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, for example, they only showed pictures of dead Hamas military men, and not one of the civilians killed and injured during the Israeli attack. The mouthpiece of Prince Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, printed an editorial by its editor in which he blamed the Palestinians for their ordeal. I usually don’t link to the Saudi sleaze website, Elaph, but this one will please MEMRI and itis titled: “The Israeli Army Smashes the Agents of Iran in Gaza.” All the babies and children killed and children are agents of Iran. Yes.
Posted by As’ad at 7:42 AM
Newer Post Older Post Home Visit the Angry Arab Homepage

(Iraqis react to Bush’s “liberation” of their country).

(Angry Arab speaks at Burj Barajnah Palestinian Refugee Camp, June ’04).

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December 28th, 2008, 8:15 pm

 

23. majid said:

Norman,
You have not really gone into the depth of this entwined relationship between the Wahhabis and the Zionists. Their relationship actually goes back further in history than you can imagine. There are reports that claim Abd al-Wahab was actually a member of the elders of Zion. I’m just drawing your attention to this piece of information so that next time you would research the subject further and present us with more accurate information in exposing this evil alliance between a Muslim masquerader and the Zionist usurpers of Muslim land. I have even read an analysis that suggests that Ahab in Moby Dick is actually related to Abd al-Wahhab and it could have started right there on the whaling ship. It is such an evil conspiracy you can’t even scratch its surface, not to mention getting to the depth of it.

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December 28th, 2008, 8:37 pm

 

24. norman said:

Majid.

You do not have to go that far , Just go to 2006.

The article was take from Angry Arab web, So I can not take credit for it.

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December 28th, 2008, 9:05 pm

 

25. Alex said:

Dear Joe M.

Earlier this morning you suggested that I was wrong in my analysis above.

Today, two Middle Easters leaders that you respect supported three of the points I made and you strongly disagreed with

1) Turkish Prime minister said that he did not contact Israeli leaders about the situation in Gaza because it is useless since they delivered a blow to the peace process with Syria that turkey has been working hard to sponsor.

2) Sayed Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech today … he warned his supporters that Israel \”during hte last month of the Bush administration\” is planning to draw them into a new fight.

AND .. he made it clear he is not planning to interfere militarily … but will only be ready to defend if they attacked Lebanon.

3) Nasrallah also made it very clear that he believes Egypt asked Israel to destroy Hamas.

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December 28th, 2008, 9:12 pm

 

26. offended said:

As expected, Syria suspends indirect peace talks with Israel:

http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=87898

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December 28th, 2008, 9:46 pm

 

27. norman said:

Print Back to story

Israeli troops mobilize as Gaza assault widens
By IBRAHIM BARZAK and KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writers Ibrahim Barzak And Karin Laub, Associated Press Writers
1 hr 34 mins ago

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israel widened its deadliest-ever air offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers Sunday, pounding smuggling tunnels and a central prison, sending more tanks and artillery toward the Gaza border and approving a reserves callup for a possible ground invasion.

Israeli leaders said they would press ahead with the Gaza campaign, despite enraged protests across the Arab world and Syria’s decision to break off indirect peace talks with the Jewish state. Israel’s foreign minister said the goal was to halt Gaza rocket fire on Israel for good, but not to reoccupy the territory.

With the two-day death toll climbing above 290 Sunday, crowds of Gazans breached the border wall with Egypt to escape the chaos. Egyptian forces, some firing in the air, tried to push them back into Gaza and an official said one border guard was killed.

Hamas, in turn, fired missiles deeper than ever into Israel, near the Israeli port city of Ashdod, and continues to command some 20,000 fighters.

Yet Hamas leaders were forced into hiding, most of the dead were from the Hamas security forces, and Israel’s military intelligence chief said Hamas’ ability to fire rockets had been reduced by 50 percent. Indeed, Hamas rockets fire dropped off sharply, from more than 130 on Saturday to just over 20 on Sunday.

Israel’s intense bombings — some 300 air strikes since midday Saturday — wreaked unprecedented destruction in Gaza, reducing entire buildings to rubble.

Shlomo Brom, a former senior Israeli military official, said it was the deadliest force ever used in decades of Israeli-Palestinian fighting. “Since Hamas took over Gaza (in June 2007), it has become a war between two states, and in war between states, more force is used,” he said.

European leaders called on both Israel and Hamas to end the bloodshed.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke Sunday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has set up a rival government to Hamas in the West Bank, and condemned “the provocations that led to this situation as well as the disproportionate use of force.”

The White House was mum about the situation in Gaza on Sunday after speaking out expansively on Saturday, blaming Israel’s retaliatory strikes on Hamas.

In the most dramatic attacks Sunday, warplanes struck dozens of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, cutting off a lifeline that had supplied Hamas with weapons and Gaza with commercial goods. The influx of goods had helped Hamas defy an 18-month blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt, and was key to propping up its rule.

Sunday’s blasts shook the ground several miles away and sent black smoke high into the sky.

Earlier, warplanes dropped three bombs on one of Hamas’ main security compounds in Gaza City, including a prison. Moments after the blasts, frantic inmates scrambled down the rubble. One man, still half buried, raised a hand to alert rescuers.

Gaza’s nine hospitals were overwhelmed. Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, who keeps a record for the Gaza Health Ministry, said more than 290 people were killed over two days and more than 800 wounded.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which keeps researchers at all hospitals, said it had counted 251 dead by midday Sunday, and that among them were 20 children under the age of 16 and nine women.

Israeli leaders gave interviews to foreign television networks to try win international support.

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, speaking Arabic, spoke on Arab satellite TV stations, denouncing Hamas rule in Gaza. And Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told NBC that the assault came because Hamas is smuggling weapons and building a “small army.”

In Jerusalem, Israel’s Cabinet approved a callup of 6,500 reserve soldiers, in apparent preparation for a ground offensive. Israel has doubled the number of troops on the Gaza border since Saturday and also deployed an artillery battery. It was not clear, though, whether the deployment was meant to pressure Hamas or whether Israel is determined to send ground troops.

Since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, after 38 years of full military occupation, Israeli forces have repeatedly returned to the territory to hunt militants. However, Israel has shied away from retaking the entire strip, for fear of getting bogged down on urban warfare.

Military experts said Israel would need at least 10,000 soldiers for a full-scale invasion.

The diplomatic fallout, meanwhile, was swift.

Syria decided to suspend indirect peace talks with Israel, begun earlier this year. “Israel’s aggression closes all the doors” to any move toward a settlement in the region, said a Syrian announcement.

The U.N. Security Council called on both sides to halt the fighting and asked Israel to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza; 30 trucks were let in Sunday. The prime minister of Turkey, one of the few Muslim countries to have relations with Israel, called the air assault a “crime against humanity.”

The carnage inflamed Arab and Muslim public opinion, setting off street protests across the West Bank, in an Arab community in Israel, in several Middle Eastern cities and in Paris.

Some of the protests turned violent. Israeli troops quelling a West Bank march killed one Palestinian and seriously wounded another. A crowd of anti-Israel protesters in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul became a target for a suicide bomber on a bicycle. In Lebanon, police fired tear gas to stop demonstrators from reaching the Egyptian Embassy.

Egypt, which has served as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians as well as between Hamas and its rival Fatah, has been criticized for joining Israel in closing its borders with Gaza. The blockade was imposed immediately after the Hamas takeover in June 2007.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit called on Hamas to renew its truce with Israel. The cease-fire began unraveling last month, and formally ended more than a week ago. Since then, Gaza militants have stepped up rocket fire on Israel.

A Hamas leader in exile, Osama Hamdan, said the movement would not relent. “We have one alternative which is to be steadfast and resist and then we will be victorious,” Hamdan said in Beirut.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said it was unclear when the operation would end but told his Cabinet was “liable to last longer than we are able to foresee at this time.”

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis live in cities and towns in Gaza rocket range, and life slowed in some of the communities. Schools in communities in a 20-kilometer (12-mile) radius from Gaza were ordered to remain closed beyond the weeklong Jewish holiday of Hanukkah which ends Monday.

In the southern city of Ashkelon, home to some 120,000 people, streets were relatively busy, despite the military’s recommendations against being out in the open.

Several times throughout the day, however, that routine was briefly interrupted by the sounds of wailing sirens warning of an imminent attack. Pedestrians scurried for cover in buildings. After a number of rocket landed in the distance, a woman taking cover nearby briefly fainted. She refused water and food from bystanders, instead shivering in a corner, apparently in shock.

Gil Feiler, a regional economics experts, said it was too early to assess the economic impact on Israel, but that a monthlong operation could cost Israel $200 million (143 euros) in lost wages, trade and other business.

___

Additional reporting by Aron Heller in Ashkelon, Israel. Karin Laub reported from Jerusalem.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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December 28th, 2008, 10:05 pm

 

28. majid said:

Norman said “You do not have to go that far , Just go to 2006.”

I’m disappointed Norman. How long Muslims should remain ignorant and ignore all that goes on around them? What do you mean you don’t have to go that far? Of course you should. Think about it for a while. A whaling ship captain and his relative should wreck such havoc on you and ignore all that.

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December 28th, 2008, 10:35 pm

 

29. Averroes said:

Alex,

I agree with your analysis. The peace that Israel wants is total and unconditional surrender. Anything less will not do. Israelis have been spoiled with their seemingly infinite ability to inflict pain and destruction. The six-day war model has been glorified too much for their own good. The ideal world in the mind of the majority of Israelis, it seems, is a world where the Arabs are totally incompetent, and conveniently and silently die when the Israeli generals deploy their deadly toys.

Israel has become a country of ultra narcissistic, egocentric, self-worshipers armed with very dangerous toys. The toys are just irresistibly tempting to deploy. And the democratically elected consecutive Israeli governments have always opted for deploying them, in hope of winning the total surrender from the other side.

That surrender will never come, and this system is not sustainable. It may take another ten years to break it; It may take a hundred, but it will eventually break.

The so called “Moderate Arabs” are the most corrupt, ruthless, backward regimes there is anywhere on the planet; not too different from the late Saddam regime. However, the West calls them moderate and jumps in bed with them because they are obedient and convenient. Those Moderate Arab regimes are indeed encouraging Israel to finish off Hamas. They are providing cover for everything Israel is doing, and it is no secret.

No more secrets. All is out. Israel, do your best or your worst, it’s all one and the same.

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December 28th, 2008, 11:00 pm

 

30. norman said:

Majid,

funny, I am glad you are very detailed.

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December 28th, 2008, 11:04 pm

 

31. majid said:

Ghassan,
I would be very eager to know if you have spotted any “full men” around the Syrian/Israeli borders or in Southern Beirut. I’d appreciate it if you would provide a link showing their pictures in order to become acquainted with their shapes and forms and to know how they differ from ordinary men (or may we say half men?).

It looks like the Gaza escalation has been orchestrated by Hamas and its supporters in Iran and Syria in a desperate scheme seeking to destabilize Egypt and hopelessly hoping that Egypt becomes a satellite of the mullah’s regime of Iran. The Egyptians, however, are very aware of this desperation and are reacting with sarcasm and ridicule to the latest speech by so-called Hassan Nasrallah or the faithful stooge of Nejjad and Khamenei. One such Egyptian journalist, Amr Adib, who was an admirer of Nasrallah up until recently, reacted to Nasrallah’s speech in a televised live show where some Egyptian caller objected to Adib’s continued reference to Nasrallah as Sayyid. The caller insisted on calling Nasrallah by a very common derogatory Egyptian term which means Asphalt in English. The guy insisted on calling Nassrallah Hassan al-Zift.

لم تتأخر ردود المصريين على خطاب أمين عام حزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله الذي دعا المصريين ليخرجوا بالملايين إلى الشارع ليفتحوا المعبر بـ “صدورهم” وهو لم يكتفِ بذلك، فتوجه إلى ضباط وجنود القوات المسلحة المصرية للضغط على النظام المصري، مشيراً أنه لا يدعو للانقلاب في مصر .
فبعد أن شكل الأمين العام لحزب الله قدوة للكثير من العرب سيما المصريين خاصة عقب خروج جيش الإحتلال الإسرائيلي من جنوب لبنان في سنة 2000، انقلب الكثيرون على نصرالله و”مقاومته” بعدما توجه سلاحه من مواجهة العدو الصهيوني إلى مواجهة صدور المواطنين اللبنانين في بيروت والجبل في شهر أيار الماضي، ولعل خطابه الموجه اليوم إلى المصريين بعد المظاهرات المبرمجة في إيران ضد مصر، أثار حفيظة وجه اعلامي مصري كبير هو “عمرو أديب” الذي كان من أكبر المعجبين بالسيد والذي لطالما امتدحه خلال برنامجه اليومي الشهبر ” القاهرة اليوم”.

وانتقد اديب نصرالله بشدة وسأله عن صواريخه الذي لم يوجهها لنصرة أهل غزة كما سأله عن سبب دعوة الشعب المصري الى الهلاك، و أضاف ساخراً ومباركاُ لكل عربي كان ما يزال يعتقد ان نصرالله يقاوم اسرائيل.

و طالب عمرو اديب الشعب العربي أن يفتح عيونه على حقيقة نصرالله المرة وحقيقة دوره الخبيث في بث الفتن بالعالم العربي.

و سأل أديب “اين هي الدول العربية التي لم توقع اتفاقيات مع اسرائيل واين رصاصها على اسرائيل منذ عشرات السنين.

وتلقى أديب عدداً من إتصالات المواطنين المنتقدة لخطاب نصرالله وقد رفض احدهم ان يصف نصرالله بـ “الـسيد”، واردف قائلا “كفاية نقول عنه سماحة السيد “ده” سماحة “الزفت”.

Of course, Alex, you should know that this posting is specifically tailored to your taste. So that you would know that Egypt is in good hands and that it remains the crown above every Arabs’ head. Desperate as they may be, Iranian and Syrian plotters are incapable of touching a hair of this Mother of the World (Umm al-Dunya).

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December 28th, 2008, 11:16 pm

 

32. Joe M. said:

Hi Alex,

I do respect Nasrallah very much, though I am not much of a fan of Turkish politics.

I haven’t had the chance to see Nasrallah’s speech, but based on what you wrote about it, I would generally agree. But I think it differs from your original analysis of the Zionist attack.

What I mean is that I think Israel knew that Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and other nationalist Arab forces would not respond to this Israeli terrorism against the Palestinians this time. But I think that is a default position now, and therefore not a primary motivating factor of this attack against Gaza. What I mean is that Zionist leaders drew up plans for this attack months or years ago, just like they did for the summer war on Lebanon. So, when they were deciding when to implement this long-planned attack on Gaza, they took into consideration their primary objectives (Will it destroy Hamas, what are the shape current government’s internal political pressures, and their ability to use Fatah to limit a West Bank based counter-attack…). After those factors balanced in their favor (in their opinion), then they gave some consideration to the factors you mentioned, but 1) they knew no one was in a position to challenge them, 2) they would have gone ahead with the attack anyway, as their primary motives were more important to them.

I will just say again, I don’t think the negotiations with Syria were ever serious because Israel loses nothing by maintaining the status quo. Until Syria can hurt Israel for holding on to the Golan, Israel will never seriously negotiate with Syria. Right now, Syria has no real influence over Israel.

Also, I generally agree with the sentiment that people above have been expressing that Israel is not interested in peace. Yet, i wouldn’t actually express it that way. Israel is interested in itself primarily. And it knows how weak the Arabs are now. So what does it have to lose by fighting the Arabs? Nothing. So much so that the USA even pays for the bombs they use on the Arabs, and it doesn’t even have a financial cost. In fact, the Zionists have been so successful in utilizing the puppet leaders in Jordan, Egypt, Fatah… and others, that they firmly believe they can control the region this way. And that is why Hamas (and Hizbullah) is especially threatening to Israel, because the Zionists know that Hamas can legitimately flip Arab governments to to the nationalist/Islamist side (ie. the Akhwan in Egypt and Jordan can overthrow the puppet leaders there, and Hamas can be the catalyst.). So they felt they had to deal with them now, rather than wait for Islamists to get stronger in Egypt and Jordan. So yeah, the are uninterested in peace by the Arab standard, but they want a peace for themselves in terms of their dominance of the region. And, currently, it seems like they have the peace they want, so why would they deal legitimately with the Arabs?

Also, As for Nasrallah’s point on Egypt, I will have to see for myself what he said, but I probably 90% agree with what you said he said. Egypt obviously gave the “OK” to this invasion. They even opened the border with Gaza for the wounded immediately, presumably showing that they knew about the attack (because their policy is normally not that quick to respond to events on the ground). The question is whether they gave an active “you should take down Hamas…” type of “OK” or whether they just knew they could not stop the Zionists and therefore decided not to oppose the attack. I would not be surprised either way, and tend to believe Nasrallah.

Lastly, it is totally amazing how closely this attack plan mirrors the attack plans against Hizbullah in the summer war. And the Zionists are totally aware that that failed to destroy Hizbullah. So we will have to see what Israel learned from that war. I suspect they will mount a ground invasion against Gaza, so they don’t simply repeat the mistakes of the summer war with Lebanon. If they do, then it is completely obvious what Israel is doing here. If they don’t do a full ground invasion, then I will have to review my position on this attack and Israel had more domestic Zionist ambitions then I assume, rather than an attempt to topple Hamas.

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December 28th, 2008, 11:21 pm

 

33. Qifa Nabki said:

Desperate as they may be, Iranian and Syrian plotters are incapable of touching a hair of this Mother of the World (Umm al-Dunya).

Why, oh why, do we even need Israel to start wars for us?

Had Israel never come into existence, we may have butchered ourselves into irrelevance far earlier.

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December 28th, 2008, 11:24 pm

 

34. norman said:

QN,

I agree with you.

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December 28th, 2008, 11:32 pm

 

35. Ghassan said:

Where is Bashar Assad? Playing on his playstation?
Where is Hassan Nasrallah? Hiding in a basement of a building full of women and children?
Where is Ahmadinajad? Plotting where to cause chaos and inner-fighting in another Arab country?

This is the time where they should show up and fight instead of just talking and letting the poor Gazans suffer!

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December 29th, 2008, 2:43 am

 

36. Akbar Palace said:

Where is Bashar Assad? … Where is Hassan Nasrallah? …. Where is Ahmadinajad?

This is the time where they should show up and fight instead of just talking and letting the poor Gazans suffer!

Ghassan,

I think they’re busy planning for Obama’s next visit.

What about you? Can you do anything to pick a new leader who supports your world view? Why not? Can YOU do anything yourself? Perhaps you can smuggle into Gaza some much needed steel tubing.

So we will have to see what Israel learned from that war.

Joe M.,

I’m not sure, but Israel may have learned that a large strike may keep Gaza quiet for at least a couple of years like Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

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December 29th, 2008, 3:59 am

 

37. Akbar Palace said:

Yesterday, I was reading a newspaper. A headline caught my attention which says “Two Palestinian girls were killed in a rocket attack.” At first I thought the rockets were fired by Israelis. So, I went on and read the rest of the article. The rockets were actually Qassams fired by Hamas!!!

It looks like a tragedy created by none other than an ignorant group of so-called elected leaders who allowed Iran and Syria to use the plight of the Palestinians for an agenda which is not suitable for the Middle East and the well being of its people.

Majid,

Unfortuantely, you are still the only participant here who makes sense.

From what I’ve read, what happens in Hama is one thing, what happens in Iraq is totally different, what happens in Israel is altogether something else, and in every case, Muslim extremists and jihadist are never to blame.

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December 29th, 2008, 4:13 am

 

38. Alex said:

Joe M.

If you manage to see Nasrallah’s speech you’ll agree that he is gambling that he has enough popularity in Egypt to move thousands or tens of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators in the streets.

Majid

“Me and my brother against our cousin, me and my cousin against the stranger”

That explains the character of your hero “Amr Adib” and his flip-flopping on Nasrallah.

When Nasrallah fights Olmert, Adib is in love with Nasrallah, when Nasrallah criticizes Mubarak, then Adib is with Mubarak against Nasrallah.

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December 29th, 2008, 5:28 am

 
 

40. majid said:

Alex said “When Nasrallah fights Olmert, Adib is in love with Nasrallah, when Nasrallah criticizes Mubarak, then Adib is with Mubarak against Nasrallah.”
That’s right Alex. Fight your own war on your own land with your own full men and with your own resources. Egypt is not interested in fighting on your behalf. That was mentioned in previous discussions. wasn’t it?

I am still awaiting your response to my earlier question. Why is Syria allowed to obliterate whole cities in order to fight the Muslim Brothers while Israel is not allowed to do the same with the same Muslim Brothers? Would you allow the Muslim Brothers to rule in Syria?

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December 29th, 2008, 6:19 am

 

41. Joe M. said:

Majid,
The simple fact is that the Islamist forces are the most popular force in the Arab world today. In every country they are dominate. They might not have control over the levers of power, but we all know their position.

That said, no one excuses Syria’s actions in Hama or otherwise. And it is inexcusable to destroy people that way, whether done by Egypt, Syria or Israel. Yet, if you don’t want to be ruled by the Islamists, the only way is to eliminate the political ground on which they stand. We all know that their popularity comes largely from the failure of the other forces (whether puppet governments, leftists, or just authoritarian as in Syria) to provide justice to the people. The failure of the puppet governments to stand up to Israel and the usa, the failure to provide political freedoms, the failure to provide even the most basic economic safety and education… The popularity of the Islamists is just a fact we all have to deal with. You may be against Nasrallah on this one, but he is addressing a basic issue of justice that millions of others have thought about individually.

Alex,
alJazeera only shows three sentences from his speech. But I am surprised because he seems untypically angry. Contrary to the controlled anger he usually has about injustice.

Also, I talked to a friend of mine in Cairo this morning and she was pretty amazed by Nasrallah’s speech. She had not even seen the speech, but she said everyone was talking about it.

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December 29th, 2008, 9:38 am

 

42. SimoHurtta said:

Maybe one of the top reasons for Gaza attack was also the negative settler PR Israel got in the recent months. The western press was increasingly reporting about the disgusting settler behaviour in West Bank and especially in Hebron. That really did not fit in the Israeli favourite “we are the victims, not they” strategy. Now the focus has been turned away from the settler problem for a longer time and without doubt the Israeli Talibans are returning in numbers and with growing self-confident to the settlements and establishing new ones.

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December 29th, 2008, 9:49 am

 

43. jon said:

People please be aware of murders in Gaza and Izrael, vote and express your opinion – israel-vs-palestine.com !

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December 29th, 2008, 12:37 pm

 

44. News in Brief: 29 December 2008 « Report on Positivity said:

[...] Top 5 reasons why Israel is attacking Gaza. (Syria Comment) [...]

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December 29th, 2008, 3:32 pm

 

45. majid said:

Even though the question was not addressed to you Joe M., your input is welcome. Nevertheless, you have avoided answering the question and diverted the issue in a different direction. Now, if you would like to answer instead of Alex (I already know his answer but would like him to provide a response nonetheless), I’ll repeat the question herein: Do you agree to Muslim Brothers ruling Syria? It is a very simple question and the answer can be a simple yes or no. You can also elaborate and explain your reasons either way.
There is an issue of duplicity here on the part of the Syrian regime. It is not just what happened in Hama and the eighties. Muslim Brothers are banned and vilified by the regime in Syria. Yet the Syrian regime supports a Muslim Brotherhood regime in Gaza!!!
Now, suppose that the unlikely scenario of the Syrian/Iranian designs, made plain by their mouthpiece Hassan al-Zift, to destabilize Egypt by this escalation is realized. What would be the outcome? Of course Muslim Brothers will take over power in Egypt. What would be the next step? The now ruling Muslim Brothers in Egypt will in no time bring the Muslim Brothers of Syria into power. And please don’t tell me that the Syrian regime is well entrenched in power. I can assure you the Syrian MB’s will take over power in Syria in less than 24 hours following Egypt’s earthquake!!! Then you can imagine the rest of the events unfolding. In this case, Israel will face mortal threats from multiple fronts. Armageddon will then be just around the corner.
I remind you of the failure of the Palestinians to abide by an agreement they made among themselves with the help of the Saudis a little over two years ago. The purpose of the agreement was to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict once and for all with the Palestinians recognizing the State of Israel followed by the establishment of a Palestinian State in Gaza and the West Bank. The agreement was scuttled by the Syrian regime through their stooge Mashaal in less than a month. Why do you then blame the Arab regimes for their perceived failures to help the Palestinians in ending their plight? They have done their best to help a people that refuses to help itself and always falls in the same pit as a result of empty slogans that hide the agenda that I mentioned in my previous post which is neither suitable to the Palestinians themselves nor to the rest of the Middle East!!! Why do you want these regimes to stand up to the USA against their higher interests? I don’t see anything wrong with the US being an ally of Arab regimes. Actually this relationship is beneficial to both the area and the USA. Isn’t the Syrian regime itself begging for the US to show some synpathy towards it, even though undeserved?

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December 29th, 2008, 3:45 pm

 

46. palli Davis Holubar said:

it is nationalistic crime; it is inhuman…the Cheney/Bush administration have been such good models! The is so much shame to go around

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December 29th, 2008, 4:11 pm

 

47. Joe M. said:

Majid,
There are several important issues in your argument and I don’t know whether I will get to them all.

But let me start with your question about the Akhwan ruling Syria. And my answer is that it depends on how it comes about. I could be happy with the Akhwan ruling Syria, I could not, it depends on the circumstances. But, the point of what i said before is that the Akhwan are filling an important gap in the Arab countries and that is much of the reason for their popularity. If there were other resistance voices, or other anti-corruption voices, or other voices that we addressing the needs of the people, then the popularity of the Akhwan would be much less. There is a key difference between the situation of Egypt and Syria when it comes to the Akhwan, and that is that the Syrian regime is genuinely popular with the Syrian people, while Mubarak is not. So if the Akhwan comes to power in Egypt, whether it does so through electoral politics or even coup, has a greater sense of justice to it. In Syria, Assad is legitimately popular. Because of this popularity, it would be a bigger problem for Akhwan to take power in Syria. There would be more resistance (which would hurt the country more) and it would be against the wishes or a larger part of the country. In Egypt, there is no one who likes Mubarak, and Akhwan is more powerful/popular then in Syria. So it would be more natural for the Akhwan to come to power there.

And the truth is that the Islamist groups are basically the most legitimate social/political movements in the Arab countries. Whether you like their politics or not, they represent the majority of the people in most countries. And that gives them a legitimacy that most of the governments do not have. And even though I personally have different politics than they do, I do believe they have a right to rule most of the time. And if they rule poorly, they will lose their popularity (assuming, unlike Hamas, that they are not constantly under sever attack, and are allowed to rule on their own) just as the nationalists have lost their popularity, or as the Iranian Islamists have lost theirs…

Last, there is nothing inherently incompatible between the Arabs and the Americans. Equally there is nothing inherently incompatible between the Jews and the Arabs. The reason the Arab people are not allies with the Americans is because of specific conditions that exist in the relationship. I don’t need to explain in depth, but it is pretty obvious that the USA is a political enemy of the Arab people, whether through supporting Israel, supporting puppet governments, or going to war directly. If the USA had the foreign policy of Sweden, then of course the Arabs and Americans would be allies. When its every move causes more and more destruction, why are you surprised that they are the enemy of the Arabs?

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December 29th, 2008, 5:06 pm

 

48. majid said:

Joe M.,
Your assertion about regime popularity in Syria is a mere assertion. Likewise your claim that Mubarak is unpopular in Egypt is a mere claim. I believe the real situation is the complete opposite. Assad’s regime is in fact hanging on a thin rope as far as popularity is concerned. We all know that he is hated just as much as his father was hated. The assumption that he will hang on to power against a Muslim Brothehood onslaught resulting from Egypt’s earthquake requires a huge stretch of the imagination considering Syria’s sectarian composition.

I don’t understand how you can claim that the Arab regimes are puppet regimes of the US or even your claim that US policies classifies it as enemy of the Arab people. I don’t even understand the difference between Swedish policies or those of the US when it comes to the Middle East. The only difference I can see is that Sweden, understandably, doesn’t engage in the Middle East as much as the US and that’s because Sweden is not a superpower.

What justice is Hassan al-Zift, and by extension the MB’s, promising the people of the Middle East? Is he promising a “divine victory” in exchange for a pass to “paradise” as he did with the people of Southern Lebanon who lost their homes and villages and ended up refugees? Or is he promising “liberation of Beirut” from its own people in order to accomplish the establishment of the so-called rule of the infallible jurisprudent which he calls wilayat al-faqih but should aptly be called wilayat al-fakih? What makes you so sure that these Arab regimes are puppets of the US? Is it because they no longer bankroll the pockets of the likes of Assad? What gives you a claim on their own wealth which was naturally endowed on their geography and thus they should have the freedom to use it whichever way they like? Tell me what’s going on in Iran with regards to social justice and freedom? Offer an Iranian a way out of Iran and you’ll find out the answer immediately. Would a Syrian refuse such an offer? You would know then how popular Assad is?

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December 29th, 2008, 5:49 pm

 

49. Qifa Nabki said:

Good points, Majid.

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December 29th, 2008, 6:06 pm

 

50. Alex said:

39. majid said:

Alex said “When Nasrallah fights Olmert, Adib is in love with Nasrallah, when Nasrallah criticizes Mubarak, then Adib is with Mubarak against Nasrallah.”
That’s right Alex. Fight your own war on your own land with your own full men and with your own resources. Egypt is not interested in fighting on your behalf. That was mentioned in previous discussions. wasn’t it?

WELL MAJID, THEN WHY DID EGYPT (AND THE REST OF THE MODERATE ARAB AND MUSLIM WORLD) CELEBRATE IN THE STREETS WHEN THEIR HERO NASRALLAH AND HIZBOLLAH FIGHTERS (SYRIA’S FULL MEN) DEFEATED THE ISRAELI ARMY?

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December 29th, 2008, 8:16 pm

 

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