Monday, August 04, 2008

Humanitarian gesture

Israel made a remarkable humanitarian gesture yesterday by allowing ca. 200 Fatah fighters, some of them wounded, to cross over into Israel from Gaza. Defense Minister Barak made the decision after it was concluded that they were surrounded and in danger of being massacred by Hamas fighters. While they were being transferred thru the crossing point, the Hamas fighters continued to shoot bullets and mortars at them and also fired 8 rockets into Israeli territory in defiance of their ceasefire agreement.
This current Hamas crackdown started when several bombs exploded on the beach in Gaza killing 5 Hamas operatives and a little girl. It seems that Hamas used this incident as an excuse to launch a major offensive against any group that is not controlled by them, particularly any that are loyal to Fatah.
The IDF transferred the wounded to various hospitals in Israel, notably Soroka in Beersheva and Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, where the wounded from the rocket bombardment of Sderot and the western Negev are usually taken. Israel agreed to take these fighters in at the request of both Egypt and Pres. Abbas of the PA. However, when the IDF investigated these men, from the pro-Fatah Hilles clan, they found that many of them were wanted for terrorist activities against Israel. Note that although there are terrorist organizations in Gaza and theWest Bank, Palestinian society is still basically feudal in its organization, and each individual owes allegiance to his extended family or clan. Even though the Hilles clan is pro-Fatah, that does not mean that they are pro-Abbas, and in fact another clan that is pro-Fatah and is fighting Hamas, is the Dagmush clan, that is behind the Fatah Islami (Army of Islam) group that has been fighting Hamas in Gaza and the Lebanese Government forces in Tripoli.
After the fighters had been saved by Israel, it was decided to send them back to Gaza, for two reasons, first many of them are known terrorists and Israel did not want to allow them freedom in the West Bank, and Pres. Abbas of the PA also decided not to admit them to the PA because they could destabilize his tenuous hold on power. So the healthy will be returned to Gaza today and the wounded will be returned after they are judged healthy enough.
By the way, this is not the first time that Israel has accepted sworn Palestinian enemies as a humantiarian gesture. In September 1970, King Hussein of Jordan declared military rule and attacked the PLO that had attempted to undermine the Hashemite Government in Jordan. His troops bombarded Palestinian refugee camps killing many civilians. PLO gunmen fleeing from Hussein's Beduin troops crossed the Jordan river into Israel and asked for asylum. Many of them were transferred to Lebanon, where they formed the nucleus of PLO subversion of the Lebanese Government and formed the notorious terrorist group Black September, that subequently assassinated the Jordanian FM in Cairo.
In Syria, a leader of the Syrian Government security forces, Gen. Mohammed Suleiman, was assassinated today by a sniper. He was an adviser to Pres. Assad and a liason to Hizbollah. This happened while Assad is in Iran meeting with Pres. Ahmedinejad and other Iranian leaders. This is considered to be another in the style of the assassination of the leader of the Hizbollah military wing, Imad Mugniyeh, who was blown up by a car bomb in Damascus a few months ago. While Hizbollah has blamed Israel for this assassination, it seems unlikly since car bombs and assassination are not the hallmark of Israeli actions, but more those of the belligerents in Lebanon. It is disconcerting to Hizbollah and no doubt the Syrian leadership that two such prominent leaders can be assassinated inside Syria. The most likely perpetrators are the Lebanese opposition, mostly Christian and Sunni, who are reaping revenge for the assassination by Syria of former Lebanese President Rafik Hariri and several other prominent anti-Syrian politicians. Since the UN process to investigate and identify the perpetrators of these assassinations has ground to a halt, those anti-Syrians are no doubt taking action into their own hands.
All this shows the indigenous streak of ruthless violence within Arab/Muslim society. If the Palestinians and the Syrian/Lebanese murder each other with such abandon, what would they do to the hated Jews/Israelis if they could.


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