1. Hamas leader’s three sisters live quietly in Israel as full citizens
2. Gunmen fight media bias
3. Fatah sweeps Gaza University elections with 80% of vote
4. Arafat “lives” in Jenin
5. 20-year-old woman, 8 months pregnant, killed by masked Palestinian gunmen
6. Palestinian support “crashes” in Europe
7. IDF intelligence warns conflict with Palestinians likely to escalate
8. Israeli government officials: UN seminar is anti-Israel forum
9. “Hamas leader’s three sisters live secretly in Israel as full citizens” (Daily Telegraph, June 2, 2006)
[Note by Tom Gross]
HAMAS LEADER’S THREE SISTERS LIVE QUIETLY IN ISRAEL AS FULL CITIZENS
Those Europeans and others who ignorantly and maliciously accuse Israel of conducting “Apartheid” against Arabs, will have trouble explaining the fact that it turns out that Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian Hamas prime minister, has three sisters who have all been granted full Israeli citizenship.
The Haniya sisters, Kholidia, Laila and Sabah, married Israeli Bedouin from the Negev town of Tel Sheva and moved to the town 30 years ago. They were granted Israeli citizenship and live in relative comfort. Tel Sheva is a town inhabited mainly by Israeli Bedouin. (See the Daily Telegraph story below for more details.)
It is reported that some of their children and grandchildren have served in the Israeli army, though for security reasons they have refused to divulge details.
Ismail Haniya, who took office in March as the Palestinian prime minister after Hamas won a January parliamentary election, has not visited these three of his sisters for many years. Of course, had he not chosen to become a senior member of an organization dedicated to murdering Israelis on buses and at cafes, he could have visited them.
The Palestinian prime minister has 13 children of his own, a not uncommon number among devout Palestinian Muslims.
GUNMEN FIGHT MEDIA BIAS
Hamas gunmen rampaged through a TV station in Khan Yunis, Gaza, yesterday.
Reuters reports: “Dozens of Hamas gunmen stormed an office of Palestine TV in the Gaza Strip on Monday, destroying broadcasting equipment and accusing the network of favoring the rival Fatah faction in its coverage, employees said. It was the first such armed assault on the official television network in the Palestinian territories since Hamas, an Islamic militant group, formed a government in March after defeating Fatah in a January election.
“Firing bullets into broadcasting equipment, computers and a transmitter that feeds reports from Khan Yunis to a studio in Gaza City, the gunmen shouted that Palestine TV was distorting the truth and that its coverage had a pro-Fatah slant. Two employees said they were beaten by the gunmen.”
Tom Gross adds: This is the same Palestinian TV station that has often broadcast messages encouraging Palestinian children to become “martyrs” in order to murder Israelis.
FATAH SWEEPS GAZA UNIVERSITY ELECTIONS WITH 80% OF VOTE
The Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has gained 80 percent of the vote in student union elections held at Al-Quds University’s five Gaza Strip colleges. This is a surprisingly large margin of victory over Hamas, which usually enjoys strong support, especially among Islamic students.
A total of some ten thousand students participated in the elections. In the Gaza City branch of the university, and in the central Strip’s college, Fatah won 75 percent of the vote. In Khan Yunis it won 78 percent. In the northern Gaza campus it won 82 percent. And in the Rafah college, Fatah won 84 percent of the student vote.
ARAFAT “LIVES” IN JENIN
Meanwhile in the West Bank, Fatah has deployed a new militia on the streets of Jenin, in a show of force against the ruling Hamas government.
More than 2,000 members of the new unit gathered in Jenin in recent days, wearing white headbands and black T-shirts emblazoned with “Special Protection Unit” on the back, and a photo of the deceased Palestinian dictator Yasser Arafat, on the front. Many of the men were armed with assault rifles and pistols.
The new fighters raised their arms in a salute and shouted “Fatah, Fatah.” The force then split into 23 groups that paraded throughout the streets of Jenin. Unless Hamas disbands its new force, Fatah will create similar units across the West Bank and Gaza, Fatah officials said.
20-YEAR-OLD WOMAN, 8 MONTHS PREGNANT, KILLED BY MASKED PALESTINIAN GUNMEN
One of the reasons tens of thousands of British university lecturers, as well as the Canadian Union of Public Employees, have taken time off working and teaching to organize McCarthyite style boycotts of any colleague who doesn’t denounce imaginary “Israeli apartheid” is that they really believe what they hear about Israel in the media.
They are told lie after lie, day after day. Yesterday morning, for example, it was said on BBC radio that Ehud Olmert is planning to annex “half the West Bank.” And while almost every day, near the top of its “World News headlines,” the BBC World Service reports that some Palestinian public employees (most of whom it fails to mention are in bogus jobs) have not been paid since March, the BBC (along with other media) failed to report on the pregnant woman and three other civilians shot dead by the Fatah-led Preventive Security Service in Gaza on Sunday night. If the Israelis didn’t do it, the media, the UN, and the “human rights” groups just aren’t interested.
PALESTINIAN SUPPORT “CRASHES” IN EUROPE
The Jerusalem Post reports on new findings of a public opinion survey conducted among “opinion elites” in Europe that show support for the Palestinians has fallen precipitously. The poll was conducted by former Clinton pollster, Stan Greenberg, on behalf of the Washington DC-based Israel Project. There has not been “a rush to support Israel” but there has been a “crash” in backing for the Palestinians, Greenberg said.
Greenberg singled out France as the country where attitudes had changed most dramatically. Three years ago, 60 percent of French respondents said they backed one side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of that 60%, four out of five backed the Palestinians. Today, by contrast, 60% of French respondents did not take a side in the conflict, and support for the Palestinians had dropped by half among those who did express a preference. “Suddenly it is the Palestinians who may be the extremists, or who are allied with extremists who threaten Europe’s own society.” (The senior staff of both the Jerusalem Post and the Israel Project are subscribers to this list.)
IDF INTELLIGENCE WARNS CONFLICT WITH PALESTINIANS TO ESCALATE
The Israeli army predicts that it is headed toward another violent round of clashes with the Palestinians following a period of relative calm, senior security officials said. This grim prognosis is based on the army’s five-year plan for 2006-2011, which will be made public in July.
According to the assessment, Israeli army intelligence believe Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s ambitious plan to withdraw from large parts of the West Bank will not do anything to decrease the scope of daily violence in the region. Instead, army intelligence assesses it will lead to another round of bloody violence with the Palestinians.
ISRAELI GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS: UN SEMINAR IS ANTI-ISRAEL FORUM
The Israeli Foreign Ministry is trying to stop a United Nations initiative to invite (anti-Zionist) Israeli politicians and public figures to the International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, scheduled to be held in Moscow on June 8 and 9. Officials in the foreign ministry believe the invitation is intended to lend the appearance of respectability to an anti-Israel forum.
The seminar is an annual event grounded in a UN Assembly resolution calling for the implementation of the “Palestine Plan” by the UN’s Department of Public Information.
I attach one article below.
-- Tom Gross
ENJOYING LIFE AS ISRAELIS
Hamas leader’s three sisters live secretly in Israel as full citizens
By Tim Butcher in Tel Sheva
The Daily Telegraph
June 2, 2006
Israel regards Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian Hamas prime minister, as an enemy of state. But three of his sisters enjoy full Israeli citizenship, having moved 30 years ago to the desert town of Tel Sheva.
Some of their offspring have even served in the Israeli army, the force responsible for decades of Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, an occupation that the Islamist movement, Hamas, was founded to fight.
The Daily Telegraph tracked down the Haniya sisters, Kholidia, Laila and Sabah, to a town in southern Israel. That they live in Israel is a closely guarded secret and nowhere is it guarded more secretly than Tel Sheva, a town inhabited mainly by Israeli Bedouin on the edge of the Negev desert.
“There is no reason to speak to my wife,” said Salameh Abu Rukayek, 53, who married Kholidia. “It is private business and you are not welcome asking questions about my wife.”
Blind since birth, Mr Abu Rukayek sat on a thin floor cushion and said he was happy living in Israel. “Our life is normal here and we want it to continue,” he said.
Perhaps he felt discussion of his wife’s family links might jeopardise his relatively comfortable lifestyle.
Bedouins form a small and poor minority in modern Israel, descendants of desert nomads who roamed the Holy Land in ancient times, living in tents and travelling by camel train. Some Bedouin have settled down in towns such as Tel Sheva and many make a good living, often running transport firms across Israel.
Although they regard themselves as separate from Palestinians, links between the two communities are nevertheless close. Both share the same Muslim faith.
Another member of the clan, Yousef Abu Ruqia, 50, who works as secretary in the municipal council, explained how the Haniya sisters came to Tel Sheva.
“In a small community like ours there were not enough women to go round, so some of the men would go and look for wives elsewhere,” he said.
“The Haniya sisters were Palestinians living in Gaza. Back then it was possible for people to visit Gaza easily, so Kholidia was the first to be married and move to Tel Sheva, and then Laila and then Sabah.”
He said he remembered the time, 25 years ago, when their younger brother, Ismail, would come to visit his sisters.
“There was another brother, Khaled, who came here to work laying tiles and each year, at the holiday after Ramadan, Ismail would come and visit his brother and sisters.”
The issue of Palestinian-Israeli links recently received close scrutiny from the Israeli supreme court, which was asked to consider the legality of a new law banning Palestinians from joining their Israeli spouses. The court accepted the state’s argument that security concerns justified keeping couples apart if they married across the divide.
While the law is intended to address current political problems, the presence of a Hamas leader’s own family in Israel reveals the extent and strength of links in spite of decades of mutual hostility.
Mr Abu Ruqia said the law banning Palestinian women over 25 and men over 35 from applying to join their spouses in Israel would have stopped the Haniya sisters’ move to Israel had it applied 30 years ago.
“This is a racist law that makes problems for some people in Israel like the Bedouin who often marry into Palestinian families,” he said. “It is unfair against us and not against other Israelis.”
Laila and Sabah are both widows but remain in Tel Sheva, apparently reluctant to give up their Israeli citizenship. It is not known when the Haniya sisters last had contact with their brother. As he is a Hamas prime minister, contact with him could, under Israeli law, be illegal.