They knew they had to go to Gaza

The Israeli organization Zochrot [Remembrance] uploaded an extraordinary video on 27 December 2011 – the testimony of Amnon Neuman about the emptying of Palestinian villages and expelling the inhabitants to Gaza in the early years of the State of Israel, — which is posted here.

Thanks to Adam Horowitz of Mondoweiss, who posted this video here.

Here is a summary of some of the significant statements made – about 7 – 8 minutes into the video:

    “I came to tell about those people who escaped and did not return to their land … We shot our guns and they fled to Gaza. We surrounded them from all directions Shot in the air or at them and they ran away. They had nothing to defend. They knew they had to go to Gaza. They knew the directions better than we did. We shot our guns and they escaped to Gaza” …

    The testimony continued [looser transcript]: The men fled first, the men were running first … and we then expelled the women and children, they went to Gaza … In 1951 Moshe Dayan, IDF Chief of staff, ordered the expulsion of the remaining 2000 Arabs from Ashkelon together with the people of Huj … The people in Gaza wanted to return to their villages some returned at night to tend their grapevines in the dunes north of Gaza … we waited for them and we would shoot at them and kill them … Why did none of your friends not see this? Why only you and a few individuals reached these conclusions, and the others did not? I have no clear answer for that other than that we were praised so highly, so every person who was in the Palmach thought he was a hero, and they got drunk from that. I have no other explanation”.

Alaa, Egyptian blogger, interviewed on Democracy Now

In this excerpt from his interview on Democracy Now, which can be read in full here, the just-released Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah gives his view of the current stage of the Egyptian revolution:

    AMY GOODMAN: Alaa, you, in court, refused to answer questions of the military court. Can you explain why, and also who you think should be on trial now? You’re among more than 12,000 people since Mubarak fell, civilians, who have been imprisoned and are being brought before these military courts.

    ALAA ABD EL FATTAH: Yeah. These are more like military tribunals, right? They’re not proper courts at all. And in fact, in the early days of the revolution, there wasn’t even a pretense of being a proper court, like there were hundreds who were tried in the kitchens of the military prison. Their trials would take five minutes. They wouldn’t be told what are their—what the charges are. They wouldn’t be allowed defense, and so on.

    Since then, we started quite a successful campaign against military tribunals, against military trials for civilians. And so they had to, instead of, you know, heeding our demand and stopping the practice, they had to improve the show. You know, so then they started pretending that it’s a proper court, have three judges present—they are not judges, or they are army officers—allow a defense, you know, let the case take its time, talk about evidence, and so on. But in most cases, there will be no acquittal, you know, and there’s no proper appeals process. There’s an appeals process that—in which some military officer decides, based on their own whims, whether they accept the appeal or not. It’s not a legal process, and so on. So, basically, it’s not a proper court. There’s no due process. They are no guarantees that it’s a fair trial. And so, it is the natural and obvious thing to do, actually, to refuse to appear before the court.

    I couldn’t refuse to appear before it, because I was abroad. I was in San Francisco, actually, when my summons arrived, when they sent my summons to my place. So I had to go—I had to go back to Egypt and hand myself in. Otherwise, they would have, you know, treated me or painted me as a fugitive. But I had to refuse to, you know, cooperate at all in the investigation because it is not a fair trial. But there is also another reason. You know, the military are the guilty party in that incident, and they, the military, the military rulers, you know, the members of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, should be the ones who are being investigated and should be the ones who are being put to trial. And so, these military officers, who will be acting like judges, are under their command, so they cannot be neutral, they cannot be impartial.

    Continue reading “Alaa, Egyptian blogger, interviewed on Democracy Now”

Michael Sfard + Yesh Din lose Supreme court case opposing Israeli stone quarries in the West Bank

Michael Sfard, a Tel Aviv-based Israeli lawyer who represents Palestinians aggrieved by the Israeli government and its policies, has been forcing Israeli clarification of its policies.

Even when he loses a case, as happened on Monday in a ruling handed down by Israel’s Supreme Court on Israeli stone quarries operating in the West Bank [which most of the world regards as occupied Palestinian territory], he manages to get incremental new clarification of some of Israel’s heaviest and most obscure policies

In the Supreme Court ruling handed down yesterday, Michael Sfard was representing the Israeli non-governmental human rights organization Yesh Din [Volunteers for Human Rights].

An article in Haaretz today by Zafrir Rinat, entitled High Court says Israel can take advantage of West Bank resources, is subtitled: Court adopts state position. The Haaretz story explained that Yesh Din “argued that the 10 Israeli-owned quarries in the West Bank violate international law, which states that an occupier may not exploit an occupied territory’s natural resources for its own economic benefit; it may use such resources only for the benefit of the occupied people or for military purposes”.

According to Haaretz, the Supreme Court ruling, written by Judge Dorit Beinisch, argued “it is necessary to take account of the fact that the West Bank has been under a prolonged and continuing occupation, so the territory’s economic development cannot be put on ice until the occupation ends. The quarries, she noted, supply jobs and training to a non-negligible number of Palestinians; some of their yield is sold to the Palestinians; and the royalties the quarry owners pay the state – almost NIS 30 million a year – are used by the Civil Administration in the territories to fund projects that benefit the Palestinian population. ‘In this situation, it’s hard to accept the petitioner’s unequivocal assertion that the quarries’ operation does nothing to advance the [Palestinian] region, especially in light of the Israeli and Palestinian sides’ mutual economic interests and the prolonged duration’ of Israel’s presence in the West Bank, she concluded”.

By these revelations, it appears that the Israeli owners of the stone quarries pay royalties on their production and sale of Palestinian stones to the Israeli military [Civil Administration] in order to maintain the military occupation of the West Bank.

Haaretz reported the Beinisch examined “what international law has to say, and particularly Article 55 of the Fourth Hague Convention, on which the petition was based. That article requires the occupying power to ‘safeguard the capital’ of the occupied party’s natural resources and ‘administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct’, meaning the rules governing fair usage. But Beinisch accepted the state’s position that Israel’s use of the quarries is limited and does not amount to destroying their ‘capital’, and hence does not violate international law. This position is bolstered, she said, by the state’s decision not to permit any new quarries to open” [see below].

Continue reading “Michael Sfard + Yesh Din lose Supreme court case opposing Israeli stone quarries in the West Bank”

Will sirens sound today at 11:30 am?

Today is the third Anniversary of the launch of the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The 22-day operation was launched at 11:30 am or so, on 27 December 2008. In the first strikes, some 250 Hamas police were mowed down at their police academy graduation ceremony in Gaza City. The debate continues over whether they were legitimate military targets, or not [many international lawyers say no].

Will sirens sound today in the streets of the West Bank, or even of Gaza? Will people stop and get out of their cars, to stand in memory of the lives lost?

And, how will the day be marked in Israel?

Israeli military spokespersons and government officials said that the target of this massive and unprecedented military operation was Hamas.

They say that Hamas was the “address” in the Gaza Strip, the political movement that could be held responsible [following its rout of Fatah/Palestinian Authority Preventive Security Forces in mid-June 2007] for any and all rocket, mortar and missile attacks.

Hamas, it was argued, was in charge of a physical space whose status has been defined [in the wake of Israel’s unilateral “disengagement” in September 2005 of some 8,000 settlers and the troops protecting] by leading Israeli experts on international law as a sui generis [of itself / unique to itself] entity — and whose population 0f some 1.5 million people is almost exclusively Palestinian.

More than half of the population of Gaza are children. Some 2/3 to 3/4 of the population are refugees who fled or who were expelled during the fighting that surrounded the creation of the state of Israel in 1948

Operation Cast Lead was carried out on a trapped population with nowhere to flee — all borders were closed.

The dropping of leaflets by Israeli airplanes warning of some of the upcoming strikes did not offer any information about where to seek refuge — they did not even say exactly which areas were about to be attacked. They simply added to the confusion and terror.

In the annals of warfare, the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead was not a war. It was a military operation, with vague aims that were, in the end, not achieved.

In grief and despair at the time, I wrote that it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Gilad Shalit was not released until negotiations with Hamas– which had started well before Operation Cast Lead — were concluded this year.

The firing of rocket, mortar and missile firing from Gaza on surrounding areas of Israeli population and territory continues until this day, though sporadically and diminished — despite the agreement even at a recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation summit in Cairo in November, in which Hamas signed on to join the popular non-violent resistance being backed by Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank [though Abbas did not launch the current non-violent strategy.

The IDF’s Operation Cast Lead was ordered by Israel’s “political echelon”, by popular demand, aided and abetted by the Israeli media.

Operation Cast Lead ended with two parallel cease-fires — one declared by Israel at the request of Barack Obama who was sworn into office just hours after it went into effect at 2am local time on 18 January 2009, the other one declared by Hamas to allow the Israeli ground troops to withdraw.

Maybe it can be said that one lasting “achievement” of Operation Cast Lead was the recognition of the need to turn to human rights instruments and norms to institute a “real” announced and declared naval blockade of the Gaza Strip on the night of 3-4 January 2009, as the ground phase of Operation Cast Lead got underway.

Another achievement, the growing [though not yet universal] recognition that this kind of massive use of force, against an essentially defenseless population, no matter how deep the enmity, should never be authorized again.

Hussam Khader: extension of continued Administrative Detention halved under appeal to Israeli Military Court

An Israeli military judge in Ofer Military Prison/Court has halved the extension of Hussam Khader’s sentence of Administrative Detention — a victory of sorts.

So, instead of serving a second 6-month [renewable] sentence of Administrative Detention in an Israeli jail,  as determined two weeks ago in Ofer, the Israeli military judge reduced Hussam Khader’s present term to just 3 months [December, January + February].

One has to ask, however, why Hussam Khader is now serving any time at all…

According to news reports and to Hussam Khader’s family, this was done as a result of an appeal filed by his lawyer, Jawad Bulous.  Bulous, who has offices in East Jerusalem as well as in his home town in Israel’s Galilee,  has been retained by the Palestinian Prisoners Society or Club, headed by Qaddura Fares in Ramallah.

Hussam Khader, a Fatah leader and activist from the Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus, who was born in 1961, was taken from home and his terrified family in a 2am raid on 2 June this year.

This one-hour night raid on 2 June was unusual because it was conducted by massive numbers of armed Israeli forces operating in near-total SILENCE — which we reported on earlier, here,

It was Hussam Khader’s 25th arrest by Israeli military forces in the last 35 years.

Hussam was also deported by Israeli forces, once, dumped onto Lebanese soil, during the First Intifada, and returned five years later as the Oslo Accords went into effect.

He was imprisoned for six years during the Second Intifada —  when he was a member [elected in 1999 balloting] of the Palestine Legislative Council [PLC] set up under the Oslo Accords — on charges of  somehow funnelling Iranian funding to Fatah militants,  which he denied.  After interrogation during a near-legendary 45-day period of sleep deprivation in 2003,  and further months of  extended interrogations,  Hussam says he accepted a plea bargain to end the torture and possibly reduce the time he would be separated from his family.  He later said he was told by Israeli officials that the dossier that was used to convict him was compiled by Palestinian Authority or PA Security officials.

He was sentenced to serve six years in Israeli jail.  He was released a year early, in September 2008, for “good behavior”.

Because he was in jail during the 2006 PLC elections,  Hussam has not been an elected MP in recent years, but continues his political campaigning.

He is most known for opposing PA “corruption” — and was defeated when he ran for membership in the Fatah Central Committee in the movement’s Sixth General Conference [the first in 18 years] in Bethlehem in August 2009.   There was a clash in the Conference’s supposedly closed-to-the-press opening session, when Hussam rose from his seat in the audience to ask Mahmoud Abbas, who was presiding, about various matters.

Abbas interrupted Hussam and told him to “sit down and shut up”.

I asked Hussam in the Peace Center Bethlehem’s Manger Square [opposite Nativity Church] set up for media during the Fatah Sixth Conference, what he did.  “I sat down and shut up”, he told me.  Why did you do that, I asked?  “Out of respect”, he answered.

But, he then went out of the conference and up to Manger Square, where he gave serial interviews to every television camera and crew set up on the site, and then moved to the print media seated inside the Peace Center…

Hussam also told me, a few days later, that his greatest regret was the price his family had paid — and he said he had promised them, when he was released from Israeli jail the previous September, that he would make up to each of them for the five years without them during his imprisonment.

He lost the election in  the Sixth Fatah Conference in Bethlehem, but did not leave Fatah.  He worked for months, years, to repair some of his relations with the Fatah leadership and, despite his contacts with members of other Palestinian groups including Hamas, he strongly backed the Abbas-appointed PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

As Fatah-Hamas reconciliation contacts continued in the spring of this year, Hussam Khader made headlines in the Palestinian and international media, with statements expressing hope for national unity combined with scepticism, but always urging that Salam Fayyad be kept in office in any transitional technocratic government.

Then, just under a month after a reconcilation agreement was signed by Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Politbureau Chief Khaled Meshaal in Cairo [on 4 May this year], Hussam was rearrested in the eerie and terrifying silent night raid on his home.

He was held in the IDF military base in Huwwara for over a week, then transferred to the Israeli military court in Salem.  Weeks later, with his two teenage daughters and his just-teenage son in Court, and while Hussam was waiting in a nearby room without seeing his children — and even without being brought in to face the Judge — he was sentenced to six months of Administrative Detention.

Administrative Detention is a phenomena of the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territory since June 1967.  In Administrative Detention cases, the evidence and even the precise charges against the Palestinian accused are kept secret — making any defense completely impossible.

In cases of Administrative Detention, the only information given to the Palestinian accused, and to his or her lawyer[s], are that they are believed to be “threats to peace and security in the area”…

Meantime, it is interesting to note that Hussam Khader was not allowed to travel, in the first year following his release from Israeli jail in September 2008.  He was not informed about any restrictions on his activities after his release [on “good behavior”], so he was shocked and outraged when he was stopped at Allenby Bridge when he tried to depart to address a conference in Germany to which he had been invited.

Somehow, and apparently without much further information being officially communicated to him, Hussam tried again to leave [in late 2010? ] to attend conferences in Lebanon and Syria.  There was no problem.  He was not stopped.  He went, and he came back, safely and without any problem, on two separate occasions.

It appeared that this travel may have been eased because he was going with the blessing of — and perhaps as an envoy of — Mahmoud Abbas…

The first trip was in the Summer of 2010, to a Conference in Damascus. The second trip was in November 2010, to a meeting in Lebanon on Palestinian refugees.

Hussam was thrilled, overjoyed, at the apparent restoration of his freedom — at least, to the extent possible under occupation.

Now, however, it appears that the reason for his terrifying re-arrest in June 2011 — and for the seven months he has now spent mostly in Israel’s Megiddo Prison north of the West Bank — are contacts he had with other attendees at and around these conferences, including with members of Hamas, many months earlier.

These contacts were not secret. Hussam talked about them publicly.

It seems that Hussam Khader may have been jailed, since June [a month after Mahmoud Abbas signed the Palestinian reconciliation agreement with Khaled Meshaal in Cairo], because of these contacts which were somehow approved by Mahmoud Abbas …

If these contacts were a security threat to Israel, there is no doubt that such a long time would have passed before any Israeli action.

This suggests that it is not Israel which feels Hussam is a “security threat”…

And, so far, no one in the Palestinian leadership — particularly, not Mahmoud Abbas — has said anything about Hussam Khader’s Administrative Detention.

Alaa, Egyptian blogger, is [provisionally] freed today

A child is born…

And his father, Alaa, a prisoner of conscience in Egypt, has today been released from detention [while investigations continue]…

Alaa is freed - photo via his sister Mona Seif @Monasosh - 25 Dec 2011

The Egyptian blogger, Alaa [Abd El Fattah], has been jailed for weeks [54 days, as it happens] by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Armed Forces [SCAF], for refusing to appear before a military court and in connection with accusations about his role in protests against the military government.

Alaa has now just reportedly been freed today, just weeks after his son, Khaled, was born [within hours of a court appearance by Alaa’s heavily pregnant wife, Manal, to plead for Alaa’s freedom].

Alaa and Manal named their son Khaled after Khaled al-Said [see our earlier posts, here], an Egyptian blogger whose beating to death by Egyptian policemen in Alexandria in June 2010 eventually mobilized the big protest in Tahrir Square on #25Jan this year]…

[For further information on the Khaled Said story, our earlier posts are here, here, and here.]

UPDATE: Tonight, Alaa Tweeted: “watching my wife feed my son for the first time, bliss”

Continue reading “Alaa, Egyptian blogger, is [provisionally] freed today”

On Press Cards here: the value of a PA Press Card

Here is a tale that illustrates a number of things.

Nablus, 3:30 pm on a sunny and relatively quiet Friday afternoon, at the entry to the city: an unmarked black SUV-type van, with very dark windows, was parked at 90 degree angle to road.

The unmarked black van had a Palestinian Authority [PA] license or number plate [white, with green numbers on white background], with the number 7-8600-91.

I glanced at it as I drove past, never having seen any of the usual white and marked PA security vans parked at the entry to the city — they used to be further in, at the point where you would turn if going to the Balata Refugee Camp, but never here.

But this was not a normal PA security van — it was black, unmarked, with very dark windows. Just one.

It could be PA, but not the usual security.

However, I thought, it could be Israeli … they could be using false PA plates. But, it was just one van, and the Israelis don’t ususally station themselves around the West Bank so exposed.

Suddenly, just after I passed, it pulled out right behind me, and drove quickly right up on my tail, flashing its headlights on high beams. As I slowed down, it zipped around to cut me off in front, blocking me diagonally.

Immediately, four men in civilian clothes (nice clothes, too — there were some honey- or cognac-colored suede jackets, trousers, normal shoes in good condition) jumped out of the side doors of the black unmarked van with black windows. At least two men remained inside, in the front seat of the van.

The four rush, but do not run, to my window. They’re suddenly right there. They don’t show any ID, but they don’t show any weapons, either.

In Arabic, they demand to know where I’m from. New York, I say. Then they ask to see my “hawiyya” [Palestinian ID card]. I tell them I don’t have a “hawiyya”.

I thought the best first thing to show, in the circumstances, might be my PA Press Card.

Luckily, I was right. Oh, a journalist! they said, and backed off. That was an immediately improvement in the situation. But, I felt I had to ask them why they had chased and stopped me, in such an alarming manner.

What was the reason? Why had these plainclothed officers in an unmarked black car with black windows chase + stop me for no apparent reason without showing ID? Why did they never give me any explanation? They didn’t even relax and smile, and say “Welcome”, the way the green-uniformed PA Security did at the very few Palestinian checkpoints that exist in the West Bank [at several places in Jericho, at the northern entrance to Nablus coming on the road from Shavei Shomron, and maybe one or two other spots]…

They just backed off, got into the unmarked black van, and drove away…Scary.

At least, it showed the utility and usefulness of PA Press Cards…

On Press Cards here: Hamas press cards

Because my Israeli Government Press Office [GPO] has not been renewed [wrongly, I am claiming] since 2010,
I have been unable to travel to Gaza the way all accredited journalists here can travel, via Israel’s Erez crossing, or “terminal”.

Therefore, I have only read about the relatively new phenomena of Hamas press cards.

I first saw one in Bethlehem on Thursday night: a journalist colleague + friend showed me her one-year Hamas press card [issued, as de rigeur, after a first temporary Hamas press card valid for a couple of months].

It was issued by the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Gaza.

One of the most striking things about it: it includes a one-year residence permit, in Gaza…

Recommended Reading – Amira Hass: Palestinians are heroes

Amira Hass has written this, or things like this, in Haaretz before.

But, it’s like Picasso’s Blue period — she keeps trying to explain what she sees, over and over again, until she finally captures its essence. [I have sometimes explained what I’m doing in the same way…]

It isn’t that this time she finally got it right — no, there’s still so many things to write, so many more ways to try to describe this reality so that it’s understandable, and comprehended by those not physically here [or, by those who are here, but don’t see it, or who ignore it].

But, this time [as many times], the words resonate in a special way.

Amira writes: Palestinians are heroes, braving Israeli dictatorship – “To live this way and remain sane – that’s heroism. ‘And who says we’re sane?’ Palestinians answer me. Well, here’s the proof: self-irony. The thugs of the hills are only the icing on the cake. Most of the work is being done by thugs wearing kid gloves… Latest update 01:41 21.12.11, here.

Reports from Cairo that Hamas will join PLO [election planning/monitoring] commission

This is only a preliminary report… and is still Breaking News —

UPDATE: Nabil Shaath told journalists at a pre-Christmas in Bethlehem tonight [Thursday] that “I heard good news, basically, from Cairo … Hamas is willing to accept non-violence, basically, a long-term ‘hudna’, but they do not want us to talk about it very much … What these people in Gaza are really saying is that our right to armed struggle should not be abandoned, and we agree, but we choose not to exercise it”

The real question at stake in today’s meeting in Cairo was: will arrangements finally be made for Hamas to join the PLO, as previously agreed in Cairo in 2005 — and as suggested in a “reconciliation” agreement between Fatah and Hamas in late April, then encoded in a document signed in Cairo in early May?

Apparently, agreement on that has not yet been reached, but a small step has been taken to keep things moving — or to appear to keep things moving — in the right direction.

Today’s meeting of Palestinian political movements and “factions” in Cairo was chaired by Mahmoud Abbas, who is, simultaneously:
(1) Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], recognized by the UN as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people;
(2) head of the largest Palestinian political movement Fatah, and
(3) … um … well … despite the fact that the mandate ran out either in January 2009 or January 2010, depending on one’s legal view … is still President of the Palestinian Authority set up by agreement under terms of the Oslo Accords [+ subsequent practice] between the PLO and Israel.

Last night, in Cairo, there was a previously-unannounced meeting of Abbas and Hamas’ Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal.

Until now, the major obstacle to Hamas joining the PLO has been the objection of Fatah.

The problem existed even prior to the mid-June 2007 Hamas military rout [in Ramallah, it was called a “military coup”] of Fatah/PA Preventive Security Forces from Gaza, but that sealed the present division. PA President Mahmoud Abbas immediately responded to this “military coup” with his own “political coup”, dissolving a short-lived [3 months, to be precise] “National Unity” government [negotiated in Mecca by Saudi Arabia] — which was, like the two prior governments formed in the wake of the 2006 elections, led by Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. Hamas reportedly feared an imminent American backed military attack led by Fatah’s Mohammed Dahlan [then a star, now in disgrace].

In the aftermath, Abbas then set up an “Emergency Government”, and named Salam Fayyad as PA Prime Minister. The U.S. and other major donors celebrated with a major “love-in”, praising Fayyad, the American-trained Security Services, and showering Ramallah with donor funding.

Apart from that major rift, the core issue of contention about Hamas joining the PLO: Hamas wanted to have a proportion of seats in the PLO’s Palestine National Council [PNC] similiar to the proportion it won in the 2006 Palestine Legislative Council [PLC] elections = over 60%.

For Fatah, furious that it lost a great deal of ground to Fatah in those 2006 elections, that was, and is, unthinkable.

The most Fatah could agree that Hamas deserves was about 25% maximum.

This is where the new elections come in. Not only has the term expired for the PA President + the PA’s PLC… Fatah is somehow hoping that Hamas will lose any new elections it participates in. This would have the felicitous effect of confirming the correctness of Fatah’s stand [which has prevented Hamas from joining the PLO so far, even if Hamas wanted to]: Fatah firmly believes that Hamas deserves less [preferably, much less] than a majority stake in the PNC.

Basically, the position still is: if Hamas joins the PLO, it will have be on Fatah’s terms, already explained by PLO Chairman [and Fatah leader] Abbas.

As Nabil Shaath said in his remarks to journalists in Bethlehem on Thursday night, if I understood him correctly: Hamas “has to go back to where it was in 2006, apologize to the Palestinian people [for the events of 2007], and abandon all pretense to representing the Palestinian people”…

Does anybody seriously think Hamas is going to apologize for what happened in 2007?

The incremental step announced so far in Cairo — Hamas joining a PLO committee on elections — appears to suggest that some progress in Palestinian reconciliation is being made. [After all, it is something demanded by most Palestinians].

At the same time, the step announced does not yet trespass over the limit suggested by the US, which has said that Hamas must not join any new Palestinian government until it has acceeded to all three conditions set by the Quartet [and by Israel]:
(1) recognition of Israel [Netanyahu has officially set the barrier even higher, at recognition of Israel as a Jewish state];
(2) an end to “terrorism”;
(3) acceptance of all prior PLO agreements and positions.

If there is Hamas participation in a new Palestinian government prior to fulfilling those conditions, the U.S. has threatened a cut off of humanitarian funding to the PA…

Slowing down the arrival of day that decision may have to be taken, while keeping up the appearance of movement and progress towards reconciliation, is one of the main goals shared by the Fatah + Hamas, the two largest Palestinian movements participating in the current exercise.

Meanwhile, there will be a lot of gymnastically-contortionist statements involving circuitous positions of logic that will be advanced to explain all this…