Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Shevat 5766 - February 22, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Iran and Hamas Link Up Officially

by M Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

"The Ayatollah's regime will have a major role in Palestine," Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who is based in Syria, said on Tuesday in a meeting in Teheran with the Iranian Foreign Minister. "We trust Iran to help us deal with the challenges facing us today."

Mashaal was visiting Iran after a tour of Arab and Muslim countries in an attempt to get financial and political support for a new Hamas government. He also met previously with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran is seen by the West as a threat to world security with its program of developing nuclear weapons. The Palestinian people have always celebrated Iranian success, but now the friendly relationship will be out in the open.

The announcement makes it clear that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has chosen to follow a path that puts it in open conflict with the West, and does not pursue cooperation with it. Up until now the PA has officially pursued a policy of cooperation with Western democracies and has won extensive economic assistance from them. Billions were sent over the past decade, but most was wasted and skimmed off by corrupt officials.

The open rejection of the West seems to have caught European and American officials by surprise, as they are still debating if and when to restrict financial aid to the PA. If the PA moves into the category of Iran, the debate will be quite different. The West has been discussing whether to invade or just to apply economic sanctions to Iran as it defiantly develops a nuclear weapon and releases aggressive statements about the need to wipe Israel off the map.

At the weekly Israeli Cabinet meeting last Sunday, Acting Prime Minister Olmert made the following remarks with regard to the installation of the Palestinian Legislative Council that is now dominated by Hamas: "From Israel's point-of-view, a new situation has been created. Israel has defined threshold conditions for holding contacts with Palestinians in the Hamas administration . . . Israel has proven that it is interested in acting on behalf of regional peace and stability. The disengagement is a main example of this, at the base of which lies the desire to have here two states for two peoples living side-by-side in stability, security, and peace.

"It is clear that in light of the Hamas majority in the PLC and the instructions to form a new government that were given to the head of Hamas, the PA is — in practice — becoming a terrorist authority. The State of Israel will not agree to this. Israel will not compromise with terrorism and will continue to fight it with full force. However, there is no intention of harming the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population. Israel will not hold contacts with the administration in which Hamas plays any part — small, large, or permanent.

"From our point-of-view, the swearing-in of the PLC means that Hamas has — in effect — taken control of the PA. . . . ties with the PA [will be] downgraded, unless Hamas fully accepts the principles that the international community has presented to it: Recognition of the State of Israel and abrogation of the Hamas Covenant, the renunciation of terrorism and the dismantling of terrorist infrastructures (by adopting the Roadmap and accepting its principles), and recognizing all understandings and agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. . . .

"In any case, Israel has no intention of bringing about the collapse of civil frameworks and creating a humanitarian crisis in the PA."

The cabinet decided that upon the formation of the transitional government, no funds will be transferred from Israel to the PA; the movement of VIPs connected to Hamas, including members of the PLC, will continue to be restricted in all areas under Israeli control; security checks at crossings will be increased, regarding both people and goods.

Construction of the security fence will continue. The cabinet also said that all measures necessary to thwart acts of terrorism against Israel will continue, both in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank.

Israel will also act immediately to prevent any further upgrading of the capabilities of the PA's security mechanisms by denying entry to military equipment — jeeps, command cars, radios and armored cars — that various countries wish to donate to the PA. For now, however, there will be no change in routine cooperation in the field with the Palestinian security mechanisms.

This week Israel took a number of active steps against terror. On 16 February 2006, customs authorities at Ashdod port seized 31 containers of goods, worth millions of dollars, which were imported by the Fayez Abu Amar Company in the Gaza Strip. The company has systematically and continuously assisted Hamas and Islamic Jihad by laundering and transferring funds from overseas to local operatives under the guise of commercial activity. The company also cooperated with illegal Hamas funds abroad and with various associations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza that have been banned by Israel.

The IDF also mounted a major anti-terrorist operation in the Shechem area including the nearby Balata refugee camp. One senior terrorist was killed resisting arrest and more than a dozen were arrested by Tuesday, as the operation continued. A major bomb factory was found in the casbah area of Shechem. The factory held dozens of kilograms of materials used in the production of explosives.


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