Saudi columnist: “Hamas is acting like a terrorist organization”

July 11, 2006

CONTENTS

1. “You have lost”
2. Saudi columnist: “Hamas is acting like a terrorist organization”
3. Just one of many
4. “Intentionally committing crimes in order to be returned to prison”
5. Remembering Anat Rosenberg, and Mike’s Place
6. “Dear Brethren, the War With Israel Is Over” (By Y. Ibrahim, NY Sun, July 7, 2006)
7. “Hamas can’t let Israel go” (Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2006)
8. “7/7: In memory of Anat Rosenberg” (By J. Spyer, Guardian Blog, July 7, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

“YOU HAVE LOST”

I attach three pieces below.

The first is by Youssef M. Ibrahim, an Egyptian-born American reporter who for over two decades has served as a Middle East regional correspondent for The New York Times. He writes an open “letter to the Palestinian Arabs from their Arab friends” pointing out that “as Israel enters the third week of an incursion into the same Gaza Strip it voluntarily evacuated a few months ago, a sense of reality among Arabs is spreading through commentary by Arab pundits, letters to the editor, and political talk shows on Arabic-language TV networks. The new views are stunning both in their maturity and in their realism.” He tells his “Palestinian Arab brethren: The war with Israel is over. You have lost. Surrender and negotiate to secure a future for your children.”

He says the Palestinians should give up on their “criminal Muslim fundamentalist Hamas government [that] continues to fan the flames of a war it can neither fight nor hope to win” and advises them not to have “another cheating, conniving, leader [like] Yasser Arafat, [who] sold you a rotten bill of goods more pain, greater corruption, and millions stolen by his relatives while your children played in the sewers of Gaza.”

I recommend reading Ibrahim’s piece in full. It is a matter of regret, though not surprise, that even though Ibrahim has reported for the New York Times for 24 years, the anti-Israel NY Times would not run his comment piece and it was left to the pro-Israel New York Sun to do so instead.

(For an overview of The New York Times’s reporting on Israel, see All The News That’s Fit To Print?)

SAUDI COLUMNIST ON SOLDIER’S KIDNAPPING: “THIS IS A DESPICABLE ATTACK BY HAMAS, WHICH IS ACTING LIKE A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION”

Not specifically mentioned in Ibrahim’s article is a comment piece by Saudi columnist Yusuf Nasir Al-Suweidan in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa (on June 27), titled “The crime at the Kerem Shalom Crossing.” Al-Suweidan strongly condemns the June 25 attack at the Kerem Shalom crossing, in which Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit was taken hostage.

“When Vietcong fighters dug underground tunnels in order to reach the American Danang base in South Vietnam... they did so inside the borders of their homeland. Now they used the Palestinian border to penetrate into Israel an independent, sovereign, U.N. member state... and perpetrate the crime of murdering two Israelis, kidnapping a third, and wounding others, with all the dangerous consequences that [such a] despicable attack has caused and will cause to the Palestinian side.” (Note he uses the word “kidnap” but the BBC won’t.)

It should be pointed out that not all Arab commentators are coming round to this way of thinking. For example, a columnist in Al-Hayat compares Israel’s incursion into Gaza with the Nazi Holocaust saying “there are obvious similarities between the two.”

And indeed, as noted in today’s other dispatch (to be sent later), while a growing number of Arab commentators are attacking Hamas, a large number of prominent extreme left-wing Jews, such as current Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, are now loudly speaking out in defense of Hamas.

JUST ONE OF MANY

Writing in Al-Ahram (Egypt), Salama A. Salama, says: “The Palestinians must be aware by now that they can no longer count on Arab help, economically, politically, or militarily. Arab nations have had enough of this endless tragedy. They’ve had enough of the slogans and rhetoric that gets us nowhere... The Palestinians have no hope of winning U.S. sympathy or Europe’s support. And they have lost Arab backing, both on the official and non-official levels. Arab nations are simply too disappointed to react. In a region that is drowning in conflicts, from Iraq to Lebanon and from Sudan to Iran, the Palestinian problem is becoming just one of many.”

While this is the view of some Arab commentators, it is not the view of anti-Israel western organizations like the BBC that still obsessively and out of all proportion report on, and report negatively on, Israel.

“INTENTIONALLY COMMITTING CRIMES IN ORDER TO BE RETURNED TO PRISON”

In the second piece below, Alan Kaufman, writing in the Los Angeles Times, argues that nearly ten months after Israel withdrew every last soldier, settler, nail, and bucket from Gaza, the Hamas-led Palestinians can’t seem to let go. Hamas literally needs an occupier-enemy, just as released convicts who can’t seem to make it on the outside intentionally commit crimes in order to be returned to prison, where they feel safer and better understand the rules, says Kaufman. “You would think that the very last thing the Palestinians would want to import to Gaza is precisely the emblem of their former occupation: a soldier.”

“Hamas, like a jilted homicidal lover, will not rest until Israel is destroyed... Unfortunately, Israel cannot take out a restraining order against Hamas.”

REMEMBERING ANAT ROSENBERG, AND MIKE’S PLACE

In the third piece below, Jonathan Spyer, a research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, writes a heartfelt tribute to Anat Rosenberg, an Israeli woman who died in the July 7 London bombings. By a twist of fate, Jonathan Spyer (who is a longtime subscriber to this email list) met Anat Rosenberg at Mike’s Place, a bar in Jerusalem that later moved to Tel Aviv and in 2003 was hit by British suicide bombers, Omar Khan Sharif and Asif Mohammed Hanif, working with Hamas.

Spyer’s piece is carried on the Guardian “Comment is Free blog” and it is hardly surprising (given the kind of readers the Guardian attracts) that in the words of David Hirsh to another Guardian comment leaver on the Guardian website: “You’re just embarrassing. A Jew is murdered in London by Jew-haters and her friend remembers her. You call him a Nazi.”

Tonight a BBC documentary (on BBC2) will “reveal links” between the mastermind of the July 7 attacks in London, Mohammad Sidique Khan, and the British Muslims who carried out the Mike’s Place suicide attacks in Tel Aviv.

The BBC say they will “reveal” (their word) that Khan went on a reconnaissance mission to Tel Aviv before the Mike’s Place bombs. In fact I already wrote about this connection a year ago in an article for the Jerusalem Post (see www.tomgrossmedia.com/LondonShooting.html) but it is welcome that the BBC will finally report on the connection, even if it still insists that suicide murder of random civilians at a Tel Aviv bar is not terrorism.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“THE WAR WITH ISRAEL IS OVER. YOU HAVE LOST”

Dear Brethren, the War with Israel Is Over
By Youssef Ibrahim
New York Sun
July 7, 2006

www.nysun.com/article/35606

As Israel enters the third week of an incursion into the same Gaza Strip it voluntarily evacuated a few months ago, a sense of reality among Arabs is spreading through commentary by Arab pundits, letters to the editor, and political talk shows on Arabic-language TV networks. The new views are stunning both in their maturity and in their realism. The best way I can think of to convey them is in the form of a letter to the Palestinian Arabs from their Arab friends:

Dear Palestinian Arab brethren:

The war with Israel is over.

You have lost. Surrender and negotiate to secure a future for your children.

We, your Arab brothers, may say until we are blue in the face that we stand by you, but the wise among you and most of us know that we are moving on, away from the tired old idea of the Palestinian Arab cause and the “eternal struggle” with Israel.

Dear friends, you and your leaders have wasted three generations trying to fight for Palestine, but the truth is the Palestine you could have had in 1948 is much bigger than the one you could have had in 1967, which in turn is much bigger than what you may have to settle for now or in another 10 years. Struggle means less land and more misery and utter loneliness.

At the moment, brothers, you would be lucky to secure a semblance of a state in that Gaza Strip into which you have all crowded, and a small part of the West Bank of the Jordan. It isn’t going to get better. Time is running out even for this much land, so here are some facts, figures, and sound advice, friends.

You hold keys, which you drag out for television interviews, to houses that do not exist or are inhabited by Israelis who have no intention of leaving Jaffa, Haifa, Tel Aviv, or West Jerusalem. You shoot old guns at modern Israeli tanks and American-made fighter jets, doing virtually no harm to Israel while bringing the wrath of its mighty army down upon you. You fire ridiculously inept Kassam rockets that cause little destruction and delude yourselves into thinking this is a war of liberation. Your government, your social institutions, your schools, and your economy are all in ruins.

Your young people are growing up illiterate, ill, and bent on rites of death and suicide, while you, in effect, are living on the kindness of foreigners, including America and the United Nations. Every day your officials must beg for your daily bread, dependent on relief trucks that carry food and medicine into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, while your criminal Muslim fundamentalist Hamas government continues to fan the flames of a war it can neither fight nor hope to win. In other words, brothers, you are down, out, and alone in a burnt-out landscape that is shrinking by the day.

What kind of struggle is this? Is it worth waging at all? More important, what kind of miserable future does it portend for your children, the fourth or fifth generation of the Arab world’s have-nots?

We, your Arab brothers, have moved on. Those of us who have oil money are busy accumulating wealth and building housing, luxury developments, state-of-the-art universities and schools, and new highways and byways. Those of us who share borders with Israel, such as Egypt and Jordan, have signed a peace treaty with it and are not going to war for you any time soon. Those of us who are far away, in places like North Africa and Iraq, frankly could not care less about what happens to you.

Only Syria continues to feed your fantasies that someday it will join you in liberating Palestine, even though a huge chunk of its territory, the entire Golan Heights, was taken by Israel in 1967 and annexed. The Syrians, my friends, will gladly fight down to the last Palestinian Arab.

Before you got stuck with this Hamas crowd, another cheating, conniving, leader of yours, Yasser Arafat, sold you a rotten bill of goods more pain, greater corruption, and millions stolen by his relatives while your children played in the sewers of Gaza.

The war is over. Why not let a new future begin?

 

“HAMAS LITERALLY NEEDS AN OCCUPIER-ENEMY”

Hamas can’t let Israel go: Ten months after the Gaza withdrawal, the terror group still devours Israeli soldiers to fuel its hate
By Alan Kaufman
The Los Angeles Times
July 6, 2006

www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-kaufman6jul06,0,5840035.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

Nearly 10 months after Israel withdrew every last soldier, settler, nail and bucket from Gaza, the Hamas-led Palestinians can’t seem to let go.

There is something psychologically profound about Hamas abducting to Gaza and holding hostage an Israeli soldier, 19-year-old Cpl. Gilad Shalit. You would think that the very last thing the Palestinians would want to import to Gaza is precisely the emblem of their former occupation: a soldier.

And yet, on a psychological plane, this seemingly senseless political act may be symbolically important. Perhaps without the soldier in their midst, the Palestinians in and of themselves feel no existential purpose. Perhaps they have no way to establish their own sense of destiny without the perpetual agony of conflict with Israel.

Hamas literally needs an occupier-enemy, just as released convicts who can’t seem to make it on the outside intentionally commit crimes in order to be returned to prison, where they feel safer and better understand the rules.

How else to explain the barrage of Kassam rockets from Gaza at Israel’s populated areas even after Israel has evacuated the Palestinians’ land? How else to fathom the pointless murder of a West Bank settler, 18-year-old Eliyahu Asheri, killed almost immediately following his abduction? Each rocket, each murder, is a painful tap on Israel’s shoulder from a frustrated former marriage partner who cannot let go and is threatening homicide. I’m still here, proclaims each explosion. Take me back, each murder demands.

Unfortunately, Israel cannot take out a restraining order against Hamas.

To some Americans, Israel’s unfolding military strike on the Gaza Strip in response to Shalit’s kidnapping may seem like an overreaction, no less irrational than the behavior of the other side. After all, Americans may think, it’s just one soldier. Four and sometimes eight times as many U.S. soldiers die in Iraq and Afghanistan each day, their deaths hardly noted.

But in Israel, the loss by death or abduction of a single soldier is an utterly devastating national event. As a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces who served extensively in the Gaza Strip, I remember how strolling Jerusalem’s streets on leave from my military service I saw the glow of a television set in every window. I heard the same newscaster’s voice multiplied and amplified throughout the city as he read the roll call of the day’s casualties. Israelis sat huddled and still, with hands over mouths, suppressing shock. Occasionally there were actual cries, as though some mother, in her flat, felt the loss of the soldiers as her very own children.

This is an aspect of Israel that is rarely talked about, a side not portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s and Tony Kushner’s cynical film, “Munich.” Its source is a deeply Jewish perspective that holds that the loss of a single Jewish life is equal to that of an entire universe the code of a people who, to this day, remember the anonymous graves of 6 million Jews, including 1 million children, killed in the Holocaust.

Where is Shalit? Is he alive? Today, not only Israelis but Jews everywhere, from San Francisco to Paris to Tel Aviv, are praying for his safe return. And there is anger in our prayers, reflected in the Israeli response, which reflects our deep sense of betrayal over the refusal by the Hamas-led Palestinian government to accept the existence of the Jewish state. It has become abundantly clear since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and the advent of the Hamas government, that not even disengagement is enough.

Hamas, like a jilted homicidal lover, will not rest until Israel is destroyed.

 

WRITING ABOUT A DEAD FRIEND IS NOT EASY

7/7: In memory of Anat Rosenberg
By Jonathan Spyer
The Guardian’s Comment is Free blog
July 7, 2006

commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/jonathan_spyer/2006/07/in_memory_of_anat_rosenberg.html

Writing about a dead friend is not easy. It is made doubly hard when that friend was murdered, in political circumstances. One wants to pay tribute to a face, a smile, remembered words. And one is conscious of the possibility of the cheapening and coarsening of such things, if enlisted to the banner of a particular cause. On the third hand, it feels wrong to be intimidated by this. Since to abandon context, to forget who the killers were and why they killed, would be a betrayal. Of the dead, and of those of us that are left and must continue.

I met Anat Rosenberg in 1997, in a bar in Jerusalem called Mike’s Place. It was about one in the morning, in the late summer. Afterwards, we were friends for a while, before she left for England. Anat had jet-black hair and a white, fine-boned face which made her look severe when she wasn’t smiling. This was misleading, however, since anyone who met her became quickly aware that they were in the presence of one of the warmest-hearted people they would ever meet.

After Anat was murdered, I read in the British press that she had left Israel because of the suicide bombings and violence that engulfed our country in late 2000. This seemed a pleasingly symmetrical story Israeli Jewish woman leaves her country because of bus bombings, only to die in a bus bombing herself. It is simplistic, and not entirely true, however. Anat’s reasons for leaving Israel were complex. She was very patriotic, with a deep, vivid and strong connection to Jewish history, and the Jewish story of destruction and rebirth which is Israel. At the same time, she loved courtesy, cultural pursuits, dance, theatre. It isn’t hard to understand why such a person might find life trying in harsh, rocky Jerusalem. Nor why they might be attracted to London, with its kalaedoscopic mix of cultures, and the possibility of living a life engaged in the here and now, not recruited and weighed down by history and graves and longing. These, I think, are the real reasons she came to Britain.

At Anat’s funeral, at Har Hamenuhot in Jerusalem, I saw my friend for the first time in seven years, and for the last time ever. She was covered by black velvet, with gold Hebrew inscription on it. On the stretcher with which they carry you to burial in Israel. As they laid her in the dry, red earth, in the blazing July sun, I realized that Anat’s quest had failed. She had sought to escape that harsh, unforgiving legacy. To live her life in a different place, a place that believed in tolerance, irony, and blessed privacy. It had found her, all the same.

The people who murdered Anat and the others who died on July 7th were adherents to the same creed and belief system as the people and organisations who have spread mayhem and murder in the cities of Israel over the last six years. This creed has a name. Its name is militant Islam, or Islamism. It is not the majority creed in the Muslim world, but it is adhered to by a very significant minority. This creed, and its battle with the free democracies of the west will define the time in which we are living. This creed, and its adherents are engaged in the business of robbing other people’s lives.

They are robbers of memories, too. In the service of their cause. Mike’s Place is no longer the name of a bar in Israel. Now it is a name on a list of sites of terror attacks. Omar Khan Sharif and Asif Mohammed Hanif, British Muslims, came to visit wearing explosive belts in 2004. Anat Rosenberg, my friend, is no longer someone who I met and shared some sweet moments with and is out there somewhere in England living her life. Hasib Hussein has turned her into a face on the monument for July 7, 2005.

So be it. They forced her back into their play. Without consent asked. All the same, the adherents to the creed of Hussein, Sharif and Hanif were right to see Anat as their enemy. So her death, though a horrific crime, was no targeting error on their part.

They hate free women above all things, it seems, so they were right to hate her. And they hate Jews and wish to destroy the Jewish sovereignty into which Anat was born and in which she believed, so no mistaken identity there either. They are also the enemies of the questioning mind, and of the society that allows a person to explore their own path, to take their private journey in search of beauty and meaning. Hasib Hussein and the others want to end all that so free, searching, Israeli Jewish women are certainly their enemy and would certainly be among those they would wish to destroy.

The creed of militant Islam, with its parties, its armed organisations, its apologists, and its fellow travellers, is with us still, is young and virile, and will strike again. The war against it is only just beginning, and has not yet reached its height. May the remembrance of the lives consumed by this idea be a sustaining presence in the days to come. Anat Rosenberg, my friend, was cruelly murdered on July 7th, 2005, at Tavistock Square, in London. May her memory be a blessing.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.