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The flotilla has nothing to do with the Palestinian people, it is about Turkey becoming a major power in the Middle East

Posted by jagoindia on June 26, 2010

The Palestinian Card

June 08, 2010

You probably think the flotilla is about the Palestinian people. Well, yes and no.

For much of the last six decades, the Palestinian ’cause’ has really been a Palestinian ‘card’ used by regional powers in the region aspiring for pre-eminence in the Middle East. This is the First Law of Middle Eastern Geopolitics-if you want to be the leader of region, you must first show your support for the Palestinian cause by poking Israel in the eye. The Second Law is that once you have played the Palestinian card, you can move on to your real agenda.

Egypt-once the “leader of the Arabs” in the 1960s-fought two wars with Israel before settling for a peace deal in the 1970s. It now gets large sums of money in aid from the United States. Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran then pressed its claims for leadership of the region, and promptly used Syrian and Lebanese proxies to strike Israel. Iran’s Sunni Arab neighbours didn’t like the idea of a radical Shia regime grabbing the mantle of regional leadership and Saddam Hussein stepped up to challenge the Khomeini’s Islamic Republic. He even lobbed several Scud missiles towards the Jewish state, in return for which he received Yasser Arafat’s endorsement. Iraq lost the war. So did the Palestinians actually, who became suspect in the eyes of the Kuwaitis and other Gulf Arab states. With both Iran and Iraq under sanctions in the 1990s, the mantle of leadership of the Middle East fell upon the sophisticated shoulders of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis, unlike previous claimants to Middle Eastern leadership, didn’t launch tanks, proxies or missiles at Israel. Instead they launched a roadmap. It went nowhere-although, as they say in diplomatese, it is still on the table. Meanwhile the Iranians got caught working on a nuclear weapons project. The worried Saudis let it be known that they might not be averse to Israeli jets flying over their airspace just in case, you know, the Israelis want to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. That’s because Riyadh calculates that balancing the Iranians is more important than is midwifing a Palestinian state. Despite appearances and rhetoric, the interests of Saudi Arabia and Israel are aligned over preventing Iran from dominating the region.

Neither Egypt nor Iraq qualify for a place at the top of the Middle Eastern league today. Thanks to the US wars that weakened its two big neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran is certainly a contender. So is Saudi Arabia. Last week, Turkey announced that it has joined the race, and, in accordance with the diktats of the First Law, played the Palestinian card. The flotilla was a strategic masterstroke-the moment it set sail, Turkey won and Israel lost. If it had been allowed to pass through, Turkey would be seen has having broken Israel’s will. If the flotilla were stopped, Turkey would be the leader of an international chorus condemning Israel for blockading the Palestinians.

“Turkey,” Samuel Huntington wrote in The Clash of Civilizations, “has the history, population, middle level of economic development, national coherence, and military tradition and competence to be the core state of Islam. In explicitly defining Turkey as a secular society, however, Ataturk prevented the Turkish republic from succeeding the Ottoman empire in that role.” One of the most astute — if controversial-political scientists of the 20th century, Huntington noted that “[at] some point, Turkey could be ready to give up its frustrating and humiliating role as a beggar for membership in the West and to resume its much more impressive and elevated historical role as the principal Islamic interlocutor and antagonist of the West. But to do so it would have to reject Ataturk’s legacy…” This was in 1996, six years before Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP) came to power.

The AKP government is indeed engaged in a battle to overturn Ataturk’s legacy-secularism is out, Islamism-of the ‘mild’ variety, we are assured-is in. Military dominance is out, democracy is in. And in foreign policy, alignment with the West is out, neo-Ottomanism is in. Ahmet Davutoglu, political science professor, AKP’s foreign policy strategist and the current foreign minister, believes that Turkey must project power across its traditional sphere of influence. Last year, when the Chinese government cracked down in Xinjiang in the face of unrest between the Uyghur minority and the Han majority, the strongest international condemnation came from Ankara. Turkey has also sought a role in stabilising Afghanistan-Pakistan, ending the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear programme and brokering a deal between Israel & Syria.

Yet it was only when Turkey floated the flotilla to Gaza that people took notice. The successor to the Ottoman empire had announced its arrival. Turkey’s move towards becoming the dominant power in the Middle East is, however, by no means guaranteed. As my colleague V Anantha Nageswaran told me, Western speculators can exploit Turkey’s vulnerable bond and currency markets and bring the country down some notches. There is a small chance that the military-secularist old guard could yet eject the AKP from power. In all likelihood though, Turkey will be an important-if not the most important-player in the Middle East.

The re-emergence of Turkey as a major power offers India the opportunity to balance its relationships with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel. This calls for India to reorient its relationship with Turkey, identify common interests-managing China’s influence in Central Asia, for instance-and convert them into cooperative initiatives. That will also require Turkey to look beyond its relationship with Pakistan. In fact, this is the issue that will answer the big question: is Davutoglu’s neo-Ottomanism merely pan-Islamism or is it about Turkey’s national interests? If it is the former, then Turkey will allow its relationship with India to be constrained by its ties with Pakistan. Not so, if it is the latter.

What about the Palestinians, you ask? Well, it took the Economistall of 74 words to describe the contours of a solution. That solution, which will give the Palestinians their own state, requires both Israelis and the Palestinians to compromise. To be constructive, international intervention must push both sides towards compromise. Demonising one side emboldens the other to be more inflexible than it might otherwise be. Yet that is what the flotillas have done. Turkey got its glory, Israel is in the dock and the United States doesn’t know what to do. The people of Gaza don’t get anything more than schadenfreude.

Do you still think it’s about the Palestinian people?

Nitin Pai is founder & fellow for geopolitics at the Takshashila Institution and editor of Pragati – The Indian National Interest Review, a publication on strategic affairs, public policy and governance. He blogs at The Acorn and is active on Twitter too.

Posted in Islamofascism, Muslims, Palestine, Terrorism, Turkey | Leave a Comment »

Israel finds more sympathy in Europe

Posted by jagoindia on January 20, 2009

Israel finds more sympathy in Europe
By Robert Marquand
The Christian Science Monitor
January 8, 2009

Concerns about Islamist threat have influenced traditionally pro-Arab
Europe’s view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Paris – European Union leaders this week flanked Israeli Foreign
Minister Tzipi Livni as she told the world’s news media, “We are all
opposed to terrorism.” For many observers in Europe, the moment
underscored a little-noted but ongoing convergence between European
and US-Israeli thinking – despite the tragedy and challenge that Gaza

For decades, Europe was a Middle East counterbalance – generally
sympathetic to Palestinians as the weaker party, critical of an
unqualified US backing of Israel. The Palestine Liberation
Organization had offices in Europe. France’s Navy helped Yasser
Arafat escape Tripoli in 1983. Europe backed the Oslo Accords, and
saw the Palestinian cause as a fight for territory and statehood.

Yet Europe’s traditional position on the Arab dispute has been
quietly changing: It is gravitating closer to a US-Israeli framing of
a war on terror, a “clash of civilizations,” with a subtext of
concern about the rise of Islam – and away from an emphasis on core
grievances of Palestinians, like the ongoing Israeli settlements in
the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and “occupation.”

Causes for the shift are complex and manifold, and in no small way
associated with the rise of Muslim populations in Europe. But since
Sept. 11, the discourse and psychology in Europe has shifted, with
pro-Arab support “diluting and weakening,” as Karim Bitar, with the
International Institute of Strategic Relations in Paris, puts it –
and converging with US-Israeli framing of a fight against terror.
[Editor’s note: The original version misspelled Mr. Bitar’s name.]

“There is convergence on goals [terrorism] between Europe and the US,
and a remnant of divergence on means [military logic],” argues the
French intellectual Dominique Moisi. “The Europeans are less pro-
Islamic Muslims now than before, after 9/11.

“We also see that even American Jews are not entirely at peace with
what Israel is doing. There’s more criticism of Israel than before,
in American opinion; and in Europe there is less support of what the
Arabs are.”

In the Gaza conflict, “European diplomats see a crisis with no exit
point,” says a senior French scholar with extensive Mideast
experience. “They think if the Israelis can put out Hamas and put in
Abbas, that would be wonderful. They don’t see Hamas as Palestinian
nationals, but as Islamic.”

A Euro-American convergence leaves European Union diplomats
supporting Palestinians on “shallower emotional and humanitarian
grounds,” says Mr. Bitar, “helping people survive, hoping economic
improvement is enough, and forgetting the old issues of substance,
and Israeli occupation. The two-state solution is nearly dead.”

Europe itself is not the Europe of decades past, dominated by French
diplomacy, with its Arab ties. There are 27 nations. Eastern and
former Soviet states, like Poland and the Czech Republic, often take
American positions on foreign affairs. As Prague took over the EU
presidency last week, it issued a statement that Israel’s actions in
Gaza were “defensive” – later backing down under French and British

In Scandinavia, traditionally pro-Arab states have found social
tensions with new Muslim populations – the crisis in Denmark over a
cartoon of the prophet Muhammad, for example – and public support for
Arabs is down in polls. In Europe today, nearly all major leaders –
France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s Gordon
Brown, and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi – are seen as leaning toward
Israel. The lone pro-Arab leader is Spain’s José Luis Rodríguez

“There is a general ‘Arab fatigue’ in Europe,” says Denis Bauchard,
an adviser to the French Institute for International Relations in
Paris. “The Palestine issue continues, the violence continues, the
Palestinians are divided, and it just creates a kind of fatigue.”

“Europe fears an Islamist threat, whether internal or external, and
this has begun to change the overall views on the Israel-Palestine
conflict,” says Aude Signoles, an expert on Palestinian movements at
the University of La Réunion in Madagascar.

A Pew Global Attitudes poll in 2006 found that French sympathies were
evenly divided (38 percent) between those sympathizing with the
Palestinians and with Israel, marking a doubling of support for
Israel and a 10 percent gain for Palestinians over the previous two
years. In Germany, 37 percent sympathized with Israel – an increase
of 13 points over 2004 and more than double those who supported the

To be sure, Europe retains deep reservoirs of solidarity with North
Africa. Public opinion here is outraged by the Gaza inferno. There is
widespread condemnation of the Israeli attack, including by French
President Sarkozy. European media have been overwhelmingly
sympathetic to the Gazans, even while being barred from entering the

More fundamentally, says Antoine Sfeir, founder of the Middle East
review “Cahiers de L’Orient,” European leaders understand the
political realities in Israel, the problems of a state attacked by
rockets, and the need to protect citizens. Even if he disagrees with
the framing of the issue, “The Europeans don’t see this as a
Palestinian thing. They see it as a Hamas thing,” he says. “In fact,
this is not about terrorism; it is a war between Israel and
Palestinians that is being called a war on terror.”

Ironically perhaps, Europeans were the most vocal critics of the Bush
administration-coined phrase “war on terror.” It is seen as
overreaching and simplistic while being used to sanction wars like

Yet since Sept. 11, a discourse that advocates a tough confrontation
with Islam has emerged in Europe – based in part on Samuel
Huntington’s “clash of civilization” theory – in such venues as the
French magazine “Brave New World.” Sarkozy has been congenial to
these points.

Authors include former leftists like Pascal Bruckner, André
Glucksmann, Olivier Rolin, and Bernard-Henri Lévy who supported the
war in Iraq and view Islam as a creeping form of totalitarian
ideology moving into Europe. The most recent issue contains an homage
to Mr. Huntington, who died last month.

Bitar argues that “Islamophobia” feeds a popular confusion in Europe
about Muslims. “Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda are all viewed as the same
thing. Europe used to see the Arab conflict as about territory. Now
it is shifting towards the global war on terror, Islam versus the
West, clash theory.”

Mr. Moisi dissents from the Huntington thesis. His recent book “Clash
of Emotion,” describes a West characterized by “fear” and an Arab
world characterized by “humiliation.”

US and European differences on Israel have been deep and numerous.
The US and Israel have religious and theological sensibilities about
the Holy Land; Europeans view the Palestinian issue through a secular
and humanitarian lens.

America, with an influential Jewish population, has seen Israel’s
security and right to defend itself as central. Europe, without as
weighty a lobby, has stressed UN security resolutions, and
international law for Palestinians that have been a counterbalance.
European academics have not been uneasy with the phrase “state-
sponsored terrorism” to describe Israeli violence against
Palestinians; in America the phrase is seen as far-left.

Europeans saw President Clinton as an honest broker in the Mideast;
President Bush has been seen as wholly aligned with Israel.

Large differences still exist between the two continents on the
priority of the Palestinian-Israeli issue.

“In Europe, we see the Palestinian issue as major, one that, if not
solved, will continue the chaos and violence,” says Mr.
Bauchard. “Americans agree with Israel that the real issue is the
existential threat from Iran. The Israelis built a wall and treated
the Palestinians as unimportant.”

European media characterize the photogenic and well-spoken Ms. Livni
as a moderate – though she emerged from the hard-line party of Ariel
Sharon. “The Europeans really fear what will happen if [right-wing
Likud Party chairman Benjamin] Netanyahu wins in February,” says Ms.
Signoles. “So she is called a moderate, because in Europe, the term
right-wing means violent.”

Signoles points out that the main effect of a Europe that adopts an
American position is that the core Palestinian issues regarding the
cessation of settlements, a shared capital of Jerusalem, and the
right of return “may not be emphasized as before.. [T]he Israel-
Palestine issue is an asymmetric problem, and if the international
community does not raise it and balance it, there is little chance
that the rights of the smaller player will be raised.”

Posted in Arabs, Europe, Hamas, Islam, Islamofascism, Israel, Muslims, Palestine, Terrorism, United States of America | 1 Comment »

Video: Pro-Hamas Muslim Demonstration in Fort Lauderdale, Florida — Must Watch

Posted by jagoindia on January 12, 2009

200-300 Pro-Hamas Muslim Protestors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Have a look at Islam first hand here:

The video at youtube website had over 370,000 viewers and over 5,000 comments!

Radical Islam vision for America: The third Jihad – click here

Posted in Islam, Islamofascism, Israel, Must read article, Palestine, Terrorism, United States of America, Video, West | Leave a Comment »

Many reasons why Arab nations do not absorb the Palestinians and solve the Palestine problem

Posted by jagoindia on January 11, 2009

Israel’s problems are due to its enlightened founders
By Kevin Myers, January 07 2009

The death toll from Gaza is of course, shocking, dreadful, unspeakable;
though it does not compare with the death toll amongst Israelis if Hamas
had its way. Recurring in the current debate are allegations about the
terrible deeds Israelis did in 1948. But that is history. That some of
these wrongs done to Arabs might have been prompted by local Arab
support for the invading Arab armies is irrelevant. Historical
injustices were certainly done in the formation of the Israeli state.

However, far greater wrongs were inflicted in 1945 on the Poles of
Eastern Poland, and on the Germans of East Prussia, the Baltic and of
the Sudetenland. We can go back a further quarter of a century, and look
at the fate of the Christians of Anatolia, and the Turks of Crete and
Thessalonika, or even, at a far lesser level, of the Catholics of West
and North Belfast and the Protestants of Cork, who in different degrees
were dispossessed, murdered, and exiled.

What was the difference between all those expulsions, and the
expulsion — let us settle for the word — of some Arabs from what was
to become Israel? It is that the exiles found homes in the states to
which they had fled, and there they were allowed to work, and become
full and active citizens. Turkey absorbed the Greek Turks, Greece
absorbed Anatolia’s Orthodox Christians, impoverished post-war Germany
absorbed the millions of Balts, Sudetens and Prussians, the Free State
absorbed the Northerners, (even appointing one of them, Dan McKenna, the
head of the Army).

But not Israel’s neighbours. No, they herded their fellow Arabs (not
then known as Palestinians) from the former Ottoman province of
Palestine into displaced persons camps, and kept them there. Not for
months, but for decades, causing all kinds of political, cultural and
moral claustrophobia. It was in these camps that the modern notion of
“Palestinian” was born. And though we hear a lot about the walls between
Israel and Gaza and Israel and the West Bank, we don’t hear much about
the walls between those densely populated Arab territories, and the
neighbouring countries of Jordan and Egypt. Arab brotherhood becomes
mysteriously indistinct whenever it requires solid gestures, rather than

The Israelis were told by the UN to leave Gaza. They left Gaza. Their
reward has been to have had thousands of missiles fired into half a
dozen of their cities from the territory they abandoned. And how many
demonstrations have the grisly cast of showbiz anti-Israelis mounted to
protest at these deliberate acts of indiscriminate terrorism? Let me ask
you another question, with a comparable answer: How many Jews are there
in Hamas?

Dear old Hamas, whose foot-soldiers are fed and supplied by EU and UN
humanitarian aid, and armed from across the border with Egypt (which,
naturally, is otherwise sealed to prevent Palestinians from leaving
Gaza). It is admirably honest on one issue: it is dedicated to the
destruction of Israel, and to the extermination of the Jewish infidels
in Palestine. So, the bombardment of Israel by Hamas terrorists is not a
temporary nuisance, but the first step of a genocidal strategy.

And whereas the overwhelming majority of Israelis would regret the
terrible slaughter of, say, the five Balousha sisters by an Israeli
bomb, Hamas would rejoice in a comparable massacre of five Jewish girls.
Moreover, I suspect I will win few friends by pointing out that the
Balousha family had initially left their home, right next to a
Hamas-controlled mosque, after the Israelis announced (as they often do,
to minimise civilian casualties) that all such mosques would be targets
for their bombers. But the girls’ father, Ibrahim, then decided to take
his chances back at home, where the sisters were killed by falling
rubble when the mosque was bombed, just as the Israelis said it would

Such pathological and tragic fatalism in the face of an almost certain
outcome defies all rational analysis. However, it does make stunning
propaganda for the global anti-Israeli lobby. Moreover, all the
arguments about the “proportionality” of the Israeli response are
meaningless. Hamas can do what it likes, without serious rebuke or
protests from the western intelligentsia and assorted celebrities: it is
only when the Israelis reply to the insufferable provocation of
Hamas-missile attacks that we suddenly hear the endless recitation of
the P-word.

But ‘proportionality’ is a meaningless and largely theological concept:
what is a proportionate reply to 8,000 missiles being fired into the
defenceless civilian populations of so many Israeli cities?

Israel’s current problems exist because its founders largely behaved
like enlightened Jews, rather than as Communists and Nazis, or even as
earlier generations of Americans or Australians had done. The Israelis
didn’t expel all the defeated peoples from their lands, but instead, let
many stay. In other words, they didn’t seek the kind of outcome which
the Romans inflicted upon Carthage at the end of the Third Punic War.
And that’s the real point about that much-maligned thing, a Carthaginian
Peace. For one tended not to hear very much from the Carthaginian
Liberation Organisation thereafter.

Posted in Arabs, Israel, Must read article, Palestine, West | Leave a Comment »

How LTTE, Palestine, Kashmir, India lost by not seizing the moment

Posted by jagoindia on January 4, 2009

Seizing the moment
Business Standard / New Delhi January 04, 2009, 0:31 IST

The Israelis bomb Gaza out of shape, and the Sri Lankan army captures the Kilinochchi headquarters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Tigers (LTTE). What could the Palestinians and Sri Lanka’s Tamilians be thinking? Whatever their thoughts are, it is fairly certain that they will not be blaming their leaders, past and present. And which of their leaders would want to remind them of what might have been?

The LTTE’s Prabhakaran could have accepted the terms of the Rajiv Gandhi-Jayewardene accord 20 years ago, which would have given the island nation’s Tamils more autonomy and self-governance than they are likely to get now or in the future; but the Tiger supremo would have none of it—despite the Indian government passing on some Rs 5 crore (the equivalent of may be Rs 50 crore or more today) as an inducement. Similarly, if Palestine’s leaders in 1948 had accepted what was on offer, a full-fledged Palestinian state would have existed for six decades now, with vastly more territory than it has today—and mostly contiguous land at that.

A sense of injustice is a poor guide to making sensible compromises; and if at the same time you misread the forces of history and over-estimate your own strength, you lead your people into several hells. The Palestinians had good reason to feel poorly done by in 1948; their land had been taken away, their people were refugees in their own home. But what were their realistic options? Similarly, the Tamils of Sri Lanka had been subjected to sustained prejudice by the majority Sinhalas, and laws passed to put them at a disadvantage (such as the secondary treatment given to their language, to reduce their position in the job market). But if revolt was the option, did history have any successful examples of secession without external military support, to justify the war that the LTTE and other rebels started? And having started a rebellion, what was the sensible compromise that should have been accepted?

There are examples closer home. If the people of the Kashmir valley had been satisfied with what they had got in the agreement of 1952, they would have been living with far more autonomy than they are likely to get in the foreseeable future—because they had their own “prime minister”, no jurisdiction for the Supreme Court, the Election Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General, and not even financial integration with India (currency, customs posts, etc). All that New Delhi had control over were foreign policy, communications and defence. It is hard to think of anyone in New Delhi accepting such a package today.

Indeed, when China’s prime minister Chou En-lai offered Jawaharlal Nehru a border settlement package that involved India retaining Arunachal Pradesh while China kept possession of the Aksai Chin, Nehru should have accepted it as a realistic compromise instead of getting hung up on unilateralist positions that were not supported by history. In that event, the subsequent conflict and its prolonged aftermath could easily have been avoided, and China may not then have become Pakistan’s chief source of military succour, as it has been for decades. It should also be obvious that, even after decades of negotiations, India will not get a better deal than what Chou offered half a century ago.

A sense of injustice can be a great motivator in shaping the currents of world affairs (as the successful challenge to colonialism demonstrated), but if divorced from realistic assessments of what is possible, it could lead down blind alleys. Equally, both Israel and Sri Lanka would be well advised to be magnanimous when they are on top: offering a fair deal can do more than end a conflict, it can repair relationships.

Posted in China, India, Kashmir, Palestine, State, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Israel declares all out war against Hamas

Posted by jagoindia on December 29, 2008

If the Arabs would lay down their weapons, there would be peace in the Middle East      If Israel laid down her weapons, Israel would cease to exist

“The (Israeli defence) minister quoted Obama as saying: “had anyone fired rockets against my home while my two daughters were sleeping I would have done everything to stop him and I assume the Israelis would do the same thing.”

Israel declares ‘all-out war’ against Hamas
29 Dec 2008, 1551 hrs IST, AFP

JERUSALEM: Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak said on Monday that Israel was in an “all-out war against Hamas” as the Jewish state continued its
massive bombardment of the Islamist movement’s installations in Gaza.

“We have nothing against Gaza residents, but we are engaged in an all-out war against Hamas and its proxies,” he said.

“This operation will expand and deepen as much as needed,” he said. “We went to war to deal a heavy blow to Hamas, to change the situation in the south.”

“We will avoid as much as possible hitting civilians while the people of Hamas and other terrorists deliberately hide and operate within the civilian population.”

“We do not want to hit children and women and we will not prevent humanitarian aid” from reaching the besieged enclave, he said.

Barak said that Israel’s massive operation was in self-defence to ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, which has been under Hamas rule since the Islamist movement violently assumed power there in June 2007.

He recalled a conversation with Barack Obama during the US president-elect’s June 2008 visit to the Israeli city of Sderot that is regularly targeted by Gaza militants.

The minister quoted Obama as saying: “had anyone fired rockets against my home while my two daughters were sleeping I would have done everything to stop him and I assume the Israelis would do the same thing.”

“That is what Obama said and that is what we are doing,” Barak said.

Israel unleashed on Saturday a massive bombardment on Hamas targets in Gaza, in a blitz that has killed more than 310 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,400 other, according to medics.

Two Israelis have been killed and some 20 other wounded in retaliatory rocket attacks from Gaza.

Israeli assault targets symbols of Hamas power

By IBRAHIM BARZAK and MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writers Ibrahim Barzak And Matti Friedman, Associated Press Writers

Israeli soldiers work on a tank at a staging area near Israel’s border with the AP – Israeli soldiers work on a tank at a staging area near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, in southern …

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israel’s air force obliterated symbols of Hamas power on the third day of its overwhelming assault on Gaza on Monday, striking a house next to the Hamas premier’s home, devastating a security compound and flattening a five-story building at a university closely linked to the Islamic group.

The three-day death toll rose to 315, including seven children under the age of 15 who were killed in two separate strikes late Sunday and Monday, medics said. Israel launched the deadliest attack against Palestinians in decades on Saturday in retaliation for rocket fire aimed at civilians in southern Israeli towns.

Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak told Israel’s parliament in a special session that Israel was not fighting the residents of Gaza “but we have a war to the bitter end against Hamas and its branches.”

The strikes appear to have gravely damaged Hamas’ ability to launch rockets but a medium-range rocket fired at the Israeli city of Ashkelon killed a man there Monday and wounded several others. It was the second fatality in Israel since the beginning of the offensive and the first person ever to be killed by a rocket in Ashkelon, a city of 120,000.

Seventeen people have been killed in Israel in attacks from Gaza since the beginning of the year, including nine civilians and eight soldiers, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

On Sunday, Hamas missiles struck for the first time near the city of Ashdod, twice as far from Gaza as Ashkelon and only 25 miles from Israel’s heart in Tel Aviv.

At first light Monday, strong winds blew black smoke from the bombed sites in Gaza City over deserted streets. The air hummed with the buzz of pilotless drones and the roar of jets, punctuated by the explosions of new airstrikes.

A Hamas police spokesman, Ehab Ghussein, said 180 members of the Hamas security forces were among the dead. The United Nations agency in charge of Palestinian refugees said at least 51 of the dead were civilians. A rise in civilian casualties could intensify international pressure on Israel to abort the offensive.

Israel’s intense bombings — more than 300 airstrikes since midday Saturday — wreaked unprecedented destruction in Gaza, reducing buildings to rubble. The military said naval vessels also bombarded targets from the sea.

One strike destroyed a five-story building in the women’s wing at Islamic University, one of the most prominent Hamas symbols. Another attack ravaged a compound controlled by Preventive Security, one of the group’s chief security arms, and a third destroyed a house next to the residence of Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister.

Like other Hamas leaders, Haniyeh is in hiding.

Late on Sunday, Israeli aircraft attacked a building in the Jebaliya refugee camp next to Gaza City, killing a woman, a toddler and three young teenage girls, Gaza Health Ministry official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain said.

In the southern town of Rafah, a toddler and his two teenage brothers were killed in an airstrike aimed at a Hamas commander, Hassanain said. In Gaza City, another attack killed a man and his wife.

Shlomo Brom, a former senior Israeli military official, said it was the deadliest force ever used in decades of Israeli-Palestinian fighting.

In the most dramatic attacks Sunday, warplanes struck dozens of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, cutting off a lifeline that had supplied Hamas with weapons and Gaza with commercial goods. The influx of goods helped Hamas defy an 18-month blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt and was key to propping up its rule.

Gaza’s nine hospitals were overwhelmed. Hassanain, who keeps a record for the Gaza Health Ministry, said more than 1,400 were wounded over two days of fighting and casualties were now being taken to private clinics and even homes.

Abdel Hafez, a 55-year-old history teacher, waited outside a Gaza City bakery to buy bread, one of the few people visible outdoors. He said he was not a Hamas supporter but believed the strikes would only increase support for the group.

“Each strike, each drop of blood are giving Hamas more fuel to continue,” he said.

In Jerusalem, Israel’s Cabinet approved a call-up of 6,500 reserve soldiers Sunday in apparent preparation for a ground offensive. The final decision to call up more reserves has yet to be made by the defense minister, Ehud Barak, and the Cabinet decision could be a pressure tactic.

Israel has doubled the number of troops on the Gaza border since Saturday and deployed an artillery battery. Several hundred reservists have already been summoned to join their units but no full combat formations have been mobilized so far.

Military experts said Israel would need at least 10,000 soldiers for a full-scale invasion.

Since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year military occupation, Israeli forces have repeatedly returned to the territory to hunt militants firing rockets at Israeli towns. But it has shied away from retaking the entire strip for fear of getting bogged down in urban warfare.

The assault has sparked diplomatic fallout.

Syria decided to suspend indirect peace talks with Israel, begun earlier this year. The United Nations Security Council called on both sides to halt the fighting and asked Israel to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza. Israel opened one of Gaza’s border crossings Monday and about 40 trucks had entered with food and medical supplies by mid-day, military spokesman Peter Lerner said.

The prime minister of Turkey, one of the few Muslim countries to have relations with Israel, called the air assault a “crime against humanity” and French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned “the provocations that led to this situation as well as the disproportionate use of force.”

The carnage has inflamed Arab and Muslim public opinion, setting off street protests in Arab communities in Israel and the West Bank, across the Arab world and in some European cities. On Monday, a Palestinian stabbed and wounded four Israelis in a West Bank settlement before he was shot and wounded. It was not immediately clear if the attack was directly connected to the events in Gaza.

Associated Press Writer Matti Friedman reported from Jerusalem.

Posted in Hamas, Islam, Islamofascism, Israel, Jews, Palestine, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

It is not Palestine or Kashmir, the plan is world Islamic conquest

Posted by jagoindia on August 20, 2008

The below article taken from here is related to the Palestine issue, but is perfectly valid for India as well. Islamic terrorism in India is not about Kashmir at all. But Kashmir is only a strategyfor Islamic conquest.

In The Force of Reason, Italian journalist and novelist Oriana Fallaci recalls how, in 1972, she interviewed the Palestinian terrorist George Habash, who told her that the Palestinian problem was about far more than Israel. The Arab goal, Habash declared, was to wage war “against Europe and America” and to ensure that henceforth “there would be no peace for the West.” The Arabs, he informed her, would “advance step by step. Millimeter by millimeter. Year after year. Decade after decade. Determined, stubborn, patient. This is our strategy. A strategy that we shall expand throughout the whole planet.”

Fallaci thought he was referring simply to terrorism. Only later did she realize that he “also meant the cultural war, the demographic war, the religious war waged by stealing a country from its citizens — In short, the war waged through immigration, fertility, presumed pluriculturalism.”

to read full article click Why We Cannot Rely on Moderate Muslims, by Baron Bodissey, Friday, September 08, 2006

also read: Oriana Fallaci asks: Is Muslim immigration to Europe a conspiracy?

Posted in Arabs, India, Islam, Islamofascism, Israel, Palestine, Terrorism | 1 Comment »