Sunday, June 13, 2010

Full 60-minute footage from Mavi Marmara

MEDIA ALERT:

JUST RELEASED: ONE HOUR OF FOOTAGE FROM MAVI MARMARA

Footage taken aboard largest ship in Gaza Freedom Flotilla in hour before and during raid by Israeli military

New York, NY—

A full hour of raw footage taken aboard the Mavi Marmara in the hour leading up to and during the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla:





Despite the Israeli government’s efforts to confiscate all of the footage taken during the attack, CULTURES OF RESISTANCE filmmaker Iara Lee was able to smuggle one hour of footage back to the United States and is releasing it raw to the public today.

Yesterday at the United Nations, Ms. Lee presented the footage for the first time to the international press corps after the following statement:

“I want first to thank the United Nations Correspondents Association for organizing this event on such short notice.

“My name is Iara Lee. I am a dual U.S.-Brazilian citizen of Korean descent. I am a filmmaker and a human rights activist.

“I decided to join the Freedom Flotilla after going to Gaza a few months ago and seeing first hand the devastation there. After hearing the pleas of the people living in Gaza to have the blockade lifted, I felt I must do something.

“The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was on a humanitarian mission. We expected to be deterred from delivering our aid to Gazans, but we did not expect to be attacked.

“We started filming from the moment we boarded the Mavi Marmara right through the Israeli assault on the ship. Although all of our equipment was confiscated, we managed to smuggle this footage out.

“Mine is high-definition footage of the Flotilla attack and also the only sustained footage of the ship and its passengers preceding the deadly Israeli commando raid. Watching this raw, unedited footage, you will get a sense of the mood on the ship and of the passengers on it.

“Undoubtedly, many of you will be scrutinizing it for clues to resolve the mysteries that still surround what happened that fateful night.

“During this past week the Israeli government has repeatedly alleged that these passengers -- or some of them -- laid a trap for Israel, duped the Israeli military, and plotted a lynching. Israel has repeatedly alleged that we were anti-Semitic Muslim fanatics connected to terrorist organizations.

“In fact, the passengers on our mission came from many countries and religious and ethnic backgrounds. Our one common denominator was that we wanted to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza by highlighting the injustice of Israel's blockade.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This wasn't the ‘love boat,’ this was a flotilla of terror supporters.”

Our footage will help you decide whether we were a love boat or a hate boat. You will see secular and devout passengers. You will see people at prayer and people working at their laptops.

“Was this a lynch-mob moved by hatred of Israelis or was it a cross-section of humanity moved by the plight of Gaza? Did we lay a trap for the Israeli commandos or did they unnecessarily attack us? Did we take them by surprise or did they take us by surprise?

“Do you see a premeditated ambush, or do you see some passengers using items at hand to protect themselves from an unprovoked assault by heavily armed commandos?

“You decide.”

CONTACT:

Iara Lee:

iaralee@culturesofresistance.org

please cc:

assistant@gg3.com

for prompt reply

www.culturesofresistance.orghttp://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000928581236

Corrie and Dogan: Murdered, American Heroes


Weekend Edition
June 11 - 13, 2010

Their Lives for Gaza

Corrie and Dogan: Murdered, American Heroes

By RANNIE AMIRI

“You [Israel] killed 19-year-old Furkan Dogan brutally. Which faith, which holy book can be an excuse for killing him? ... The sixth commandment says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Did you not understand? I'll say again. I say in English, ‘You shall not kill.’ Did you still not understand? So I'll say to you in your own language. I say in Hebrew, ‘Lo Tirtzakh.’”

– Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 4 June 2010

In the past seven years, two Americans were unjustly, maliciously and violently killed by the Israel “Defense” Forces (IDF). Both had unwittingly given their lives for Gaza, and in the aftermath of their murders, their government forsook them.

Their names were oft-repeated—if not by follow citizens, then by citizens of the world—as Israel’s horrific assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was discussed. These two young, brave individuals were Rachel Corrie and Furkan Dogan.

Rachel Corrie

A 23-year-old hailing from Olympia, Washington, Rachel Corrie took time off from school in 2003 to travel to Palestine and work on a “sister city” project between Olympia and Rafah, Gaza. While there, she joined the peaceful protests and resistance activities of the International Solidarity Movement, a group committed to nonviolently opposing Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

On March 16, 2003 (long before Hamas came to power), IDF soldiers were bulldozing homes in the Rafah refugee camp along Gaza’s border with Egypt. Wearing a bright orange fluorescent jacket with megaphone in hand, Corrie courageously placed herself well in front of an armored bulldozer in order to prevent a home’s destruction. The driver did not stop and she was crushed to death.

Although he claimed to have not seen her, eyewitnesses said there was nothing to obstruct the driver’s vision of Corrie, especially in her brightly-colored jacket and position. The Israeli government deemed Corrie’s death “accidental.”

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights collected sworn affidavits of those present the day Corrie was killed. As expected, they directly contradict the government’s version of events. As one detailed (abridged):

“Around 4:45pm, one bulldozer, serial number 949623, began to work near the house of Dr. Sameir Massery, a physician who is a friend of ours, and in whose house Rachel and other activists often stayed. I was elevated about 2 meters above the ground, and had a clear view of the action happening about 20 meters away. Still wearing her fluorescent jacket, she knelt down at least 15 meters in front of the bulldozer, and began waving her arms and shouting, just as activists had successfully done dozens of times that day. The bulldozer continued driving forward and headed straight for Rachel. When it got so close that it was moving the earth beneath her, she climbed onto the pile of rubble being pushed by the bulldozer. She got so high onto it that she was in clear view of the cab of the bulldozer. Her head and upper torso were above the bulldozer’s blade, and the bulldozer driver and co-operator could clearly see her. Despite this, the driver continued forward, which caused her to fall back, out of view of the diver [sic]. He continued forward, and she tried to scoot back, but was quickly pulled underneath the bulldozer. We ran towards him, and waved our arms and shouted; one activist with the megaphone. But the bulldozer driver continued forward, until Rachel was all the way underneath the central section of the bulldozer. Despite the obviousness of her position, the bulldozer began to reverse, without lifting its blade, and drug the blade over her body again. He continued to reverse until he was on the boarder strip, about 100 meters away, and left her crushed body in the sand.

“I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the bulldozer operators saw her and knew she was there. They knew she was there over 15 meters in advance, and even when they were very close to her, they could see her briefly as she was elevated on the rubble. When she was clearly underneath the bulldozer, he should not have moved, or at least lifted the bulldozer blade. He didn’t lift the blade until a couple meters after he’d drug it over her again, even though it is standard procedure to lift the blade when backing. I believe he knew she was there, intentionally drove over her, and then intentionally backed over her again.”

Just days before her death, Corrie described the dreadful conditions to which Gazans were subjected.

In a fitting tribute, the Irish-flagged relief ship MV Rachel Corrie set sail for Gaza to deliver 1,000 tons of medical supplies and reconstruction materials just after the attack on the Mavi Marmara. The Israeli navy, in seizing the Rachel Corrie, refused to address it by name. Even in death, she remains persona non grata.

Furkan Dogan

Furkan Dogan was a 19-year-old young man who had just finished high school and hoped to one day become a doctor. He held dual United States and Turkish citizenship. He was one of nine killed when Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara on May 31 as it attempted to transport 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza along with five other ships in the Freedom Flotilla.

The unarmed Dogan was, in a word, summarily executed.

Autopsy revealed he was shot five times at close range; once in the chest and four times in the head. The Israeli narrative, just as in Corrie’s murder, was inconsistent with eyewitness testimony. There were no reports Dogan had resisted, fought or attacked the boarding commandos.

The lack of outrage from President Obama, his administration, or the U.S. Congress (with the exception of Rep. Dennis Kucinich) is both striking and appalling. Is the life a legal U.S. citizen murdered aboard a relief vessel in international waters by an elite military unit of a foreign country, not worthy of indignation? Was it his foreign-sounding name, that he was Muslim, or that he lived in Turkey the reason for the absence of even muted protest?

Some will say that Corrie and Dogan were idealists who just got “caught up” in situations beyond their control or understanding.

They were not idealists, they were realists. They operated under simple, practical, honest principles: people’s homes should not be demolished by an occupying power; a besieged population has a fundamental right to food, medicine, clean water and shelter; collective punishment is inhumane and illegal.

Rachel Corrie and Furkan Dogan are American heroes. They were killed upholding human dignity, and their deaths were not in vain.

Rannie Amiri is an independent Middle East commentator. He may be reached at: rbamiri [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Jews to send Gaza blockade-buster ship

Thu, 10 Jun 2010 18:55:52 GMT


A group of Jewish activists in Germany are preparing to send an aid ship to the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli-imposed blockade for three years.

The group, which is the German branch of the European Jews for a Just Peace, plans to send the aid ship by the end of July.

"We want to break the Gaza occupation and end the occupation of the West Bank as well... we as Jews want to bring the Palestinians something other than bombs," Kate Katzenstein- Leiterer, a member of the executive committee of the group, said on Thursday.

The ship will be carrying school supplies, musical instruments, children's clothing and other children items that Israel has forbidden, such as sweets and chocolates, Spiegel Online reported.

About 16 people will be onboard the vessel. However, a lot of activists form around the world are sending requests to join the group, including some volunteers from Israel, Katzenstein- Leiterer said.

European Jews for a Just Peace has been collecting funds for the aid ship since 2008.

After Israel's bloody assault on the Freedom Flotilla on May 31, interest in the project has increased and donations have been flooding to the group, Katzenstein- Leiterer said.

Edith Lutz, another member the European Jews for a Just Peace, said that the group was in contact with Israeli officials.

"We are in contact with the Israeli government and the embassy in Berlin. We informed them a while ago," she was quoted by AFP as saying.

However, the group is concern over the possibility of an Israeli attack on the ship.

Israel has put Gaza Strip under all-out blockade, preventing international aid groups from entering the region.

On May 31, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which was carrying food and medical supplies to Gaza, came under fire early in the morning by Israeli navy forces in international waters.

Twenty international activists were killed in the deadly assault and 50 others were injured in the incident.

Source: http://www.presstv. ir/detail. aspx?id=129920&sectionid=351020604

Friday, June 11, 2010

Surat Dari Gaza: "Jangan Lupakan Kami; Kalianlah Yang Kami Miliki Sekarang"

Sumber: Era Muslim

Selasa, 08/06/2010 18:40 WIB



Ummu Taqi, seorang ummahat dari Gaza, Palestina diwawancarai oleh Islam Channel beberapa waktu lalu. Setelah wawancara, Ummu Taqi menulis sebuah surat dalam bahasa Arab yang kemudian diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Inggris, surat ini ditujukan kepada kaum Muslimin di seluruh dunia. Berikut isi suratnya:

Assalamualaikum,

Saudara dan saudari yang saya sayangi, saya ingin menggunakan kesempatan ini untuk mengirimkan pesan dari para muslimah di Gaza. Silakan dengarkan situasi kami dan beritahu semua orang.

Situasi yang kami hadapi sangat mengerikan namun iman kami alhamdulillah kuat, walaupun kami tidak memiliki air, dan jika pun ada air itu tercemar dan kami tidak memiliki uang untuk membeli air mineral. Ketika kami punya uang, para penjual air berkata bahwa terlalu berbahaya bagi mereka sendiri untuk berjalan keluar dan mendapatkan pasokan air yang baru. Kami tidak memiliki gas, dan bahkan sama sekali tidak ada selama empat bulan terakhir. Kami memasak makanan kecil yang kami miliki dalam api yang kami bikin sendiri.

Orang-orang kami telah kehilangan semua pekerjaan mereka. Mereka menghabiskan hari-hari mereka di rumah sekarang. Suami saya seharian hanya pergi dari satu tempat ke tempat lain hanya untuk mencari air. Dia biasanya kembali dengan tangan kosong. Tidak ada sekolah, tidak ada bank, hampir tidak ada rumah sakit yang terbuka. Kami selalu sadar bahwa hidup kami sangat riskan walaupun ada di ruangan apalagi di luar. Mereka (Israel) memberi kami jam malam antara pukul 01.00 sampai dengan- 04:00 dini hari. Pada jam itulah kami boleh keluar, dan Israel berkata "silakan cari pasokan untuk kalian," tapi itu adalah dusta.

Kami makan nasi dan roti hanya satu kali dalam satu hari. Daging dan susu adalah sebuah kemewahan. Mereka menggunakan bahan kimia di daerah-daerah yang berada di perbatasan.

Kami diberitahu bahwa orang-orang berdemonstrasi di seluruh dunia. Masya Allah. Kenyataan bahwa kalian pergi ke kedutaan besar dan meninggalkan rumah kalian, membuat kami merasa bahwa kami tidak sendirian dalam perjuangan ini.

Tapi kemudian kalian bisa pulang ke rumah dan mengunci pintu kalian. Kami tidak bisa melakukan itu. Saya harus meninggalkan rumah saya di lantai dua setiap malam dan tinggal dengan kakak saya di lantai dasar. Jika ada serangan, dari lantai dasar, kami bisa pergi lebih lebih cepat.

Ya, kami lelah. Ketika kami mendengar roket dan bom dan melihat pesawat yang terbang terlalu dekat dengan gedung kami, saya berteriak dengan anak saya yang masih kecil dan suami saya merasa tak berdaya.

Dalam semua ini tidak ada satu pun selain Allah (swt) yang dapat menyelamatkan kami. Tetapi ummah juga bertanya-tanya dimana tentara, dimana kemenangan itu? Jangan lupakan kami karena kalian semualah yang kami miliki sekarang. Sumbangan kalian sama sekali tidak sampai kepada kami, dan ketika Israel membuka perbatasan, sumbangan itu hanya untuk beberapa gelintir saja. Teruslah beramal karena Allah dan berdoa bahwa kemenangan akan segera datang, insyaAllah.

Wassalam,

Ummu Taqi.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Knesset members attacks Haneen Zoabi after free Gaza fortilla

Egypt's Waning Influence


BEIRUT — “This is language that we have not heard since the time of Gamal Abdul Nasser.” Thus wrote the influential chief editor of Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, referring to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s fiery response to the Israeli assault on the Gaza flotilla — adding that such “manly” positions and rhetoric had “disappeared from the dictionaries of our Arab leaders.” He lamented that “Arab regimes now represent the only friends left to Israel.”

There is no doubt that it is President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Nasser’s successor, to whom the editor, Abdel Bari Atwan, principally refers. There is no doubt, too, that the “flotilla affair” marks a watershed for Egypt — and to a lesser extent for Saudi Arabia.

Even the notoriously tin ear of President Mubarak to his own people’s sympathy for the Palestinian cause in Gaza could not fail to hear the grinding of the tectonic plates of Middle East change. He ordered the immediate opening of the Egyptian crossing into Gaza.

What we are witnessing is another step — perhaps crucial — in the shifting strategic balance of power in the Middle East: The cause of the Palestinians is gradually passing out of the hands of Mubarak and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

It is the leaders of Iran and Turkey, together with President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria, who recognize the winds of change. Mubarak appears increasingly isolated and is cast as Israel’s most assiduous collaborator. Here in the region, the Egyptian embassies as often as not are the butt of popular demonstrations.

Mubarak’s motives for his dogged support for Israel are well known in the region: He is convinced that the gateway to obtaining Washington’s green light for his son Gamal to succeed him lies in Tel Aviv rather than Washington. Mubarak enjoys a bare modicum of support in the United States, and if Washington is to ignore its democratic principles in order to support a Gamal shoe-in, it will be because Israel says that this American “blind eye” is essential for its security.

To this end, Mubarak has worked to weaken Hamas’s standing in Gaza, and to strengthen that of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Indeed, he has pursued this policy at the expense of Palestinian unity — his regular “unity” initiatives notwithstanding. Egypt’s one-sided peace “brokering” is viewed here as part of the problem rather than as part of any Palestinian solution.

Paradoxically, it is precisely this posture that has opened the door to Turkey and Iran seizing of the sponsorship of the Palestinian cause.

But standing behind this sharp Turkish reaction to Israel’s assault on the Turkish ship is a deeper regional rift, and this divide stems from the near-universal conviction that the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” has failed.

Its structural pillars have crumbled: The Israeli public no longer believes that “land for peace” — the Oslo principle — will bring them security. Rather, Israelis believe those who tell them that further withdrawal will only bring Hamas rockets closer.

The other Oslo pillars also lie broken: The hitherto presumed “reversibility” of the Israeli settlement project and the hypothetical possibility of last-resort American imposition of its own solution are now understood to have been no more than chimeras.

Yet Egypt refuses to budge in these changed circumstances even as the shift in the balance of regional power toward the northern tier of Middle Eastern states — Syria, Turkey, Iran, Qatar and Lebanon — gathers pace.

Egypt increasingly has only its memory of past grandeur on which to stand. In contemporary terms its influence has been on the slide for some time.

Egypt’s one card is that it is Gaza’s other neighbor. It has been Egypt’s acquiescence to the siege of Gaza — encouraged by President Abbas in the West Bank, who shares Mubarak’s desire to see Hamas weakened — that has given Mubarak his stranglehold over Palestinian issues. But the Islamic and regional tide will be flowing ever stronger against him after Israel’s action against the flotilla.

Already the Arab League is talking of supporting Turkey in any legal action against the Israeli assault on the aid convoy to Gaza. The Arab League has also issued a call to other states to break Israel’s siege on Gaza.

It is too early to say that such talk marks any turning point in Arab League politics. The Arab League, as such, is not taken seriously in the region, or anywhere else. But it is rather the shifting of the regional strategic balance that marks the locus from where real change may become possible.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia may conclude that the price of seeing the baton of leadership on such a key and emotive issue pass to non-Arab hands, Iran and Turkey, is too high, and too shameful. The near-universal skepticism directed toward the “peace process” among their own peoples has already left these leaders exposed internally.

For nearly 20 years these leaders have used their involvement in the “process” as justification to curb internal dissent; but it is now a tool that has lost its magic. They are already paying the price of popular cynicism.

This is Mubarak’s dilemma: stay with the siege and hope America will reward him with Gamal’s succession; but flouting the winds of change may imperil Gamal’s very survival. In any event, Egypt’s control of the Palestinian “file” will never be the same again.

Alastair Crooke, a former British intelligence officer in the Middle East, is author of “Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution.” He runs the Conflicts Forum in Beirut.

Global Viewpoint/Tribune Media Services

Israeli commando raid is a gift to Hamas

Palestinian protesters run from tear gas as they use a replica of  thje Gaza aid flotilla vessel near an Israeli barrier, as they object to  Israel's attack on the flotilla earlier this week, on June 4, 2010 in  Bil'lan, the West Bank.

No one could have predicted the fallout from this week's flotilla fiasco



Patrick Martin

Jerusalem — From Saturday's Globe and MailPublished on Friday, Jun. 04, 2010 10:12PM EDTLast updated on Saturday, Jun. 05, 2010 9:18AM EDT

Israel's ill-fated boarding operation of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara has become a nightmare for the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, but a dream come true for the leaders of Hamas.

And it's not over yet. The vessel Rachel Corrie, an Irish boat carrying more humanitarian supplies and yet more activists, is on course to arrive in Gaza as early as Saturday. The Israeli government has said it will not allow the vessel to reach Gaza and will board it if necessary.

“It couldn't have gone worse for Israel. In football, we used to call it ‘stumble, fumble and fall. ”— Paul Heinbecker, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations

Just a week ago, the whole situation looked dramatically different. Gaza's tiny, shallow-water port was getting a cleanup and the area was decorated with Turkish flags and signs welcoming “the heroes” on board the flotilla then on route to Gaza.

When word arrived that several of the eight vessels in the flotilla had engine trouble, however, it all suddenly seemed pathetic. No one had actually believed the boats would get through the three-year-old Israeli naval blockade, but engine trouble? Even if the hand of the Mossad could be detected, that wasn't going to produce the kind of headlines the Hamas leadership craved.

No one, however, could have imagined the turn of events about to take place, and the consequences that still are flowing from it.

“It was a perfect storm,” said Paul Heinbecker, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations. “It couldn't have gone worse for Israel. In football, we used to call it ‘stumble, fumble and fall.' ”

With nine activists killed, its defence forces embarrassed and world opinion arrayed against Israel, the Netanyahu government has begun to pay a price for its action.

U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama, have made it clear that the blockade of Gaza will have to change, and Israel's security needs otherwise assured.

But easing the blockade is just the beginning.

Of far greater importance to Israel is the boost that its dreaded enemy, Hamas, has received.

Israeli efforts to wear down the group, through large-scale bombardment a year-and-a-half ago, through a virtual siege the past three years and through the imprisonment of thousands of Hamas members, have failed. Now, with the events of this week, the Islamic Resistance Movement (its full name) appears stronger than ever.

Israel's hopes of isolating Gaza from the West Bank Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas have also been dashed, as Palestinians throughout the West Bank embrace Gaza once again. Even Mr. Abbas has publicly expressed the gratitude of all Palestinians to the Turkish government for supporting the flotilla and standing up to Israel, even though Mr. Abbas detests Hamas for its overthrow of his forces in Gaza in 2007, and fears Hamas's political power.

And it doesn't end there. Just this week, the head of Israel's Mossad intelligence service warned members of Israel's Knesset that Turkey was aligning itself with Syria and Iran and forming a new anti-Israel coalition. That prospect got a lot more likely this week.

The Israeli assault on the Turkish ship “has guaranteed the re-election of the Islamists in Turkey,” said Mr. Heinbecker. “Until this week, the new leader of the opposition, a secularist, had a good chance at winning the next election,” he said. “But now [Prime Minister Recep] Erdogan has been strengthened enormously.”

If Mr. Erdogan has been strengthened, the campaign to invoke tough sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program have been sorely weakened, added Mr. Heinbecker. “People know that the campaign against Iran is particularly dear to Netanyahu, so they're less likely to support it now.”

“The whole campaign could go belly up,” he said.

Globally, Israel may be paying a big price as well, as the worldwide campaign to boycott Israel is sure to grow, said Nehemia Shtrasler in his Friday economics column in the Haaretz newspaper.

Writing about politics and the flotilla may seem strange in a business-section column, but Mr. Shtrasler explains that it is because of “the unprecedented nadir to which Israel's status in the world has sunk – to the point of the delegitimization of the state. That,” he says, “is a strategic threat to Israel.”

To be sure, Israel's weekend press contained lots of congratulatory articles praising the performance of the commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara (though the large-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth revealed that the military preferred not to release certain videos in which, according to the newspaper, Israeli “soldiers are seen unclothed and bleeding, being beaten badly and crying for help.”) However, every painful setback for the Netanyahu government is a cause for celebration by Hamas.

For three years, its leaders have been telling the people of Gaza to hold on, that better days would be coming, that the siege would be lifted. They tried firing thousands of home-made rockets at Israel to little effect, and weathered a massive retaliatory onslaught by Israeli forces in December-January 2008-09 that killed 1,300 Gazans.

It took the deaths of nine international activists, most of them Turkish, to make a difference.

Easing the blockade is just one way Hamas stands to benefit, said Beverley Milton-Edwards, co-author of a new book, Hamas: The Islamic Resistance Movement. “And they don't even have to raise a finger – Israel is handing it to them on a platter.”

Another way Hamas can gain, she said in an interview, “is by the support it can pick up around the region.”

While Turkey's Islamic-oriented government has always supported Hamas, many of the Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, have sided with the Palestinian Authority of Mr. Abbas in its struggle with Hamas.

Not necessarily any more.

“Khaled Meshaal [Hamas's Damascus-based leader] is playing it very carefully this week,” said Dr. Milton-Edwards, a professor of Mideast politics at Queen's University, Belfast. “He went to Yemen, for example, and made a quiet appeal for regional help.”

The result has been a large increase in support from the countries of the Arab League, including Egypt, which felt the need to open its frontier with Gaza, at least, to a limited degree. (It had been closed in support of the PA.) “The Egyptian government is in a double bind,” said Ezzedine Choukri Fishere, a former adviser to Egypt's Foreign Minister. “It doesn't want to see the growth of the radical view in the region, but it has to stand firmly with the Arab League,” he said.

But the big prize that still awaits Hamas is recognition by the capitals of the West.

“A lot of people are starting to ask themselves if there can be a successful peace process without Hamas,” said Dr. Milton-Edwards. Even the consensus of the Quartet (the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations) is fracturing, she said.

“But so far this has not resulted in recognition in the West, only in support of a lifting of the blockade.”

For its part, Hamas is preaching reconciliation.

In a remarkable commentary in the weekend edition of Jerusalem's main Arab newspaper, Al Quds, Ahmed Yousef, the Hamas government's deputy foreign minister, called on all Palestinians to recognize that the correct path for the Islamic movement is to follow the conciliatory approach of Turkey's Islamic party, rather than the violent exclusionary approach of Afghanistan's Taliban.“We are at a crossroads,” Mr. Yousef wrote. “We have to choose between realizing our dreams and suicide.”

Source: The Globe and Mail

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