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Category Archives: Muslim Brotherhood

Have the Palestinians Tied Israel’s Hands?

Thursday, December 27, 2012 | Elizabeth Blade – http://www.israeltoday.co.il

121227_palvictoriesOn Sunday, several foreign and Israeli news outlets reported that the radical Gaza-based group Hamas was preparing to take over the West Bank, determined to oust the current Western-backed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

According to reports, the Islamists were emboldened by their recent war with Israel and the alleged victory that followed.

Militants claimed that Israel failed to cripple their ability (and will) to launch attacks against civilian targets, with some going as far as to suggest that Hamas left the battleground if not victorious, then at least stronger diplomatically. The movement was also encouraged by the absence of a full-scale ground invasion that could easily have toppled the Hamas regime.

To add insult to injury, Israel’s government agreed (as part of the ceasefire deal) to eliminate the so-called “no man’s land”, a buffer zone beyond Israel’s security fence along the Gaza border. The removal of this cordon sanitaire not only left the Jewish state more vulnerable to attacks by Hamas and other terrorists, but will also invited “publicity stunts” by various non-governmental organizations under the direction of Hamas.

Israel Won, Hamas Was Defeated

Nevertheless, there are some who view the recent Israeli operation as successful, and who insist that it was Hamas that suffered defeat.

Prof. Hillel Frisch, an expert on Palestinian and Islamic politics from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, says Operation Pillar of Cloud achieved maximum deterrence. “It has been the first time since 2001 that [Hamas] ceased all fire. They marked the end of the war on the national calendar and declared it a holiday, but the truth is that they were defeated.”

The expert added: “After realizing that their tactics of shooting rockets into Israel was no longer working, Hamas decided to pursue other, to their mind, more effective means of harassing Israel, one of which was staging mass demonstrations near the [security] fence.”

Indeed, two days after the sides agreed to a ceasefire on November 21st, a group of 300 Palestinians approached the fence in the southern Gaza Strip and held a violent disturbance along the border. The army had to use force to disperse the crowds, killing one Palestinian and injuring several others. Another Palestinian was killed in similar developments several days later.

Hamas Won, Israel Failed

Others, such as Dimitri Diliani, spokesman for Abbas’ Fatah movement, insisted Israel had utterly failed in the recent Gaza conflict.

“Compared to other Israeli wars [where the country achieved measurable results], the recent operation was not fruitful. It failed to achieve the goals declared by the government, mainly to cripple Hamas’ ability to launch rockets into the state of Israel,” said Diliani.

Referring to Hamas’ victory claims, Diliani agreed that although the Palestinian people were dealt a severe blow (the amount of military and civilians losses on the Palestinian side was much higher), they did create the sense of succeeding to defeat the powerful Israeli army on a moral (or even psychological) level.

“In a way, it is a victory for all Palestinian people suffering at the hands of the Israeli occupation [sic],” the Palestinian official continued. “At the same time, Hamas has been trying to take the credit for all the achievements to itself, which is fundamentally wrong, considering the many political factions within the Strip that participated in defending Gaza during the Israeli aggression.”

Friends in High(er) Places

Frisch tried to explain the motivation behind Hamas’ bold bragging: “Hamas allows itself such liberties because it feels backed by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.”

Referring to the recent apparent nosedive in Hamas-Egypt relations, Frisch noted, “On the one hand, it might look as if Egypt chose to scrap its ties with the terrorist organization. On the other hand, Egypt is trying to reassure Hamas that the cool-down in relations is only temporary. After achieving their ultimate goal of establishing theocracy, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood will start bolstering Hamas again.”

According to Frisch, Hamas understood that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood first had to take care of business at home without overly alarming the international community. “Morsi thus compelled Hamas to accept a complete ceasefire, something that Hamas refused to do since it began launching rockets in 2001.”

However, Egypt is far from being the only country to support the militant group. It is no longer a secret that Hamas is also backed by Iran (main weapons’ provider) and the Gulf states (particularly Qatar).

Ripple Effect

Encouraged by Hamas gains, the Abbas regime decided to move ahead with its own battle against Israel, this time on a diplomatic level. At the end of November, Abbas approached the United Nations’ General Assembly asking the international body to upgrade his government’s status from “entity” to “observer state.” The request was granted with 138 members (out of 193) voting in favor.

But was Abbas motivated by a genuine desire to change things? Experts seem to be divided.

“The UN bid gave the Palestinians the feeling that a Palestinian state would soon come into being,” said Frisch. “The Palestinian Authority doesn’t enjoy much credibility in the West Bank,” added the expert suggesting that the move was aimed at boosting Abbas’ popularity.

Gatestone Institute, an international policy think tank, echoed this view, stating that Abbas’ UN drive was “… the last chance for Mahmoud Abbas to remain in charge. In recent weeks he has been phoning around the foreign ministries of Europe explaining that if they don’t back him this time in the non-state statehood bid, then it is all over and all we have to deal with is Hamas…”

Diliani disagreed, stressing that the move was dictated by the desire to pursue peace, freedom and justice.

“It actually nullified the Israeli right-wing agenda to expand settlements under the pretext of land disputes,” he charged. “UN recognition provided Palestinians the tools to defend themselves from Israel’s settlement activity or targeted killing.”

Slippery Slope

Although the upgrade didn’t change things on the ground, the UN’s overwhelming support did embolden Abbas, who was given a green light to pursue additional unilateral measures instead of sitting down for talks with Israel that could translate into painful concessions on both sides.

In Israel, however, most experts and top brass disregarded Abbas’ move saying it was insignificant.

Diliani rebuked that position: “[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is not interested in admitting defeat, especially at election time. That’s why he spreads this propaganda, trying to marginalize the importance of the Palestinian victory, when the truth of the matter is that Israel was dealt a severe diplomatic blow that exposed its international isolation as a result of the continuation of occupation.”

Hamas-Fatah Unity = Trouble For Israel

Although it is too early to tell whether the UN upgrade will result in significant changes, Abbas’ flirting with Hamas might. Recent reports suggested that a reunion between Fatah and Hamas (two staunch rivals) was on the horizon.

The Palestinian street seems to be favoring the move. Thousands took to the streets in the Gaza Strip to celebrate Abbas’ victory at the UN, whereas crowds in the West Bank rallied in support of Hamas, celebrating the fact that its rockets had struck as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

What could this potential union mean for Israel? Simply put: trouble.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders are already preparing for the next round of fighting with Israel, promising that “in the next war, Israelis will be forced to flee not only their homes, but the whole country”. Fatah is also reading itself for a possible confrontation, with some leaders calling for a new intifada [uprising] against Israel, especially in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

Can Israel Divide and Conquer?

But Frisch was skeptical. “I doubt that Fatah will ever want to reunite with Hamas. Abbas and those around him are scared of Hamas’ potential take-over the West Bank. Although many Palestinians don’t support Hamas, Fatah leaders are afraid of the organization’s strong desire to take control and the ruthlessness with which they are able to do so,” stressed the expert.

Diliani rebutted those allegations and claimed Hamas was too scared of Fatah’s growing popularity: “So far, Hamas has failed the people, they have proven to be incompetent to govern, let alone lead politically. Fatah and Hamas are not going to be united. Reconciliation is possible and highly desirable; unity is not. We might have serious disagreements on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that won’t prevent us from sitting down for talks.”

But if this reunion (or even reconciliation) does take place, will Israel be willing to negotiate with Hamas? Have Hamas and Fatah manage to tie Israel’s hands this time? Time will tell…

 

 

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Egypt officially under ‘Sharia Law’

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 |  Israel Today Staff – http://www.israeltoday.co.il

121226_egyptshariaEgyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday officially signed into law a new constitution drafted by his own Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups, and which critics say has effectively placed Egypt under strict Sharia Law.

Two referendums were held on the new constitution. The results of the second were announced on Tuesday: 63.8 percent of the small number of those who voted were in favor of the document.

Morsi said now that the new constitution is in place, he can focus on fixing Egypt’s internal problems. But others say it will only exacerbate internal divisions and transform Egypt into a pariah state on par with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

While Morsi claims the new constitution contains rights and protections for all Egyptians, its vagueness in certain areas and overt Islamic flavor has lead many to fear that radical Muslim clerics are going to play an increasingly influential role in Egypt, while minority groups and women will suffer.

“It’s a disaster,” female Egyptian lawyer Nihad Abu El Konsam told German media. “There isn’t a single article in the draft constitution that mentions the rights of women.”

“This constitution will set Egypt 100 years back,” added Abu El Konsam, noting that the Muslim Brotherhood had purposely left “open doors” that will result in Egyptians being placed under an extremist form of Islamic rule.

Hamdeen Sabahi, an opposition leader who placed third in Egypt’s presidential election, said the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists have “stolen” Egypt’s pro-democracy revolution, but he remains hopeful that they can be toppled.

In the meantime, “Morsi may have been elected democratically, but he is not governing democratically,” charged Sabahi in an interview with the Associated Press.

Evidence of that was seen in Morsi’s reaction to ongoing opposition to his new constitution even after it passed the referendum. The president issued a thinly-veiled warning that public demonstrations against his rule must end, because the people were tired of it.

Morsi tried to accuse all who oppose him of being responsible for the nation’s continuing economic woes, a tried and true tactic used by all of recent history’s most successful despots.

The threats seemed to be working. While the run-up to the referendum saw hundreds of thousands protesting daily in central Cairo and even marching on the presidential palace, now that it has been signed into law very few are taking to the streets.

 

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Israeli expert: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood wants to destroy us

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 |  Israel Today Staff

Egypt's Islamist President-elect Mohamed Mursi (R)

Egypt’s Islamist President-elect Mohamed Mursi (R)

A leading analyst at Israel’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies says Western leaders are naive if they believe the Muslim Brotherhood has abandoned its quest to destroy Israel merely because of its leadership role in Egypt.

Dr. Liad Porat agreed with the assessment of many Western and Israeli leaders that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood overlords either won’t be able to or won’t desire to start a direct military conflict with Israel in the coming 10 years.

“The Brotherhood recognizes Israel’s military and technological advantage and doesn’t want to start a war,” wrote Porat.

But that doesn’t mean the Brotherhood won’t encourage and facilitate hostile activity directed at Israel.

“The possibility of a security threat emanating from Egypt in the near future cannot be dismissed,” noted Porat, especially considering the Brotherhood’s active efforts to demonize Israel in the eyes of average Egyptians.

Since its recent rise to power, the Muslim Brotherhood “has influenced the Egyptian street to think that Israel is no longer a stabilizing factor in the region,” Porat explained. “The Brotherhood has convinced the Egyptian public that a treaty with Israel harms Egyptian national security and threatens internal Egyptian stability.”

Just last month, as world leaders were praising Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi for his role in brokering a truce between Israel and Gaza-based terrorists, Morsi’s boss and the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, was reiterating that it was “obligatory” for all Muslims to wage jihad against the Jewish state.

And that brings us to Porat’s point, which is that the West has an opportunity to nip this threat in the bud years before it has the chance to blossom into violent conflict.

“America has an interest to financially assist Egypt as an actor that is still considered moderate in the Middle East,” concluded Porat. However, “it should look more closely at the Brotherhood’s true intentions before providing future aid.”

Failure to do so is almost certain to bring about the realization of fears that Egypt is transforming into a Sunni version of Iran’s Islamic Republic.

 

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MOCK CEASE FIRE

 

Posted on November 22, 2012 on israelgpm.wordpress.com

Shalom beloved prayer warriors and lovers of Israel!

A mock cease fire agreement between Israel and Gaza was concocted politically by USA and Egypt. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was the conduit by which President Mursi of Egypt was “persuaded” to mediate or actually command this cease fire. Obama most probably threatened the brand new Egyptian president with removal of financial support unless he intervened to mediate a cease fire.
13 rockets were launched by Hamas in the Neguev AFTER the cease fire went into effect! And yet Israel is still honoring the “cease fire”! This is only giving them time to rearm! The sense of betrayal that we and many in the Neguev feel is huge!
PM Benjamin Netanyahu declared that this cease fire is the right thing to do in order to allow the Israeli citizens to go back to routine. He stated that Israel hit many targets in Gaza, decreased their arsenal of rockets substantially and seriously hurt the command chain of the Hamas. But he added that a much more drastic operation may be needed at a later stage.

Our question is when is a “later stage”? How many more rockets does the Hamas need to shoot against innocent Israeli civilians before the “later stage” comes and a MUCH more drastic operation is put in effect?

In Gaza they have been celebrating tonight their victory against the Zionists!

The only thing I pray is that Israel will get the biggest laugh at the end because He that sits in the Heavens is laughing at the vain attempt of the nations to make him look as a liar. No doubt He will have the last laugh and word on this! Pray Psalm 2

Pray for unity among the people of Israel to prevail so the more drastic operation can take place swiftly! Pray for hope into the hearts of the battered citizens of the Neguev and the IDF soldiers. Psalm 121, Isaiah 61
Pray for confidence and determination in the Israeli government to finnish what they started so that the citizens of the Neguev can celebrate their family Shabbats with peace and quiet and without rockets flying over their heads for all the years to come.

 

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Video: Jewish Life in Egypt – after 3,000 Years, the End

With Muslim Brotherhood in power, the last functioning synagogue has been shut down.

By Gil Ronen – ArutzSheva7 News

Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue

Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue
Moshira / Wikipedia

The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has extinguished the last flame of Jewish life in the country. The magnificent Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria, where a synagogue has stood since Hellenistic times, will not hold Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services, because authorities have banned them.

This spells the end of Jewish life in Egypt, over 3,000 years since the Egyptian exile ended and Moses led the Jews to the Land of Israel.

The Point of No Return, a blog that documents Jewish communities in the Muslim Middle East, said that the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue was the last functioning synagogue in Egypt. It quoted Levana Zamir, who heads the International Association of Egyptian Jews in Israel: “It seems this is really the end of Jewish life in Egypt,” she said. “The authorities have found a way to take over the last Jewish bastion, since all the remaining synagogues are already archaeological and tourist sites. It is very sad.”

The Passover Seder in Alexandria last year was also cancelled for “security” reasons, writes the blog, although a Seder took place in Cairo. High Holiday services used to be held for expatriate Israeli embassy staff at the Maadi synagogue in Cairo, but since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, they have been flying home to spend the holidays with their families.

There are only two Jewish men and some 20 Jewish widows living in Alexandria.

 
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Posted by on 4. September 2012 in Arab, Egypt, Israel, Jew, Middleeast, Muslim Brotherhood

 

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The Changing Middle East: Revolt Against Artificial Borders – Part III

With the Syrian regime’s fall presumed imminent, Israeli experts agree that dangerous days are ahead, but that Israel could benefit greatly if it handles the situation properly

Thursday, August 16, 2012 | Elizabeth Blade – http://www.israeltoday.co.il

This is Part III of a three-part story on the Middle East’s changing borders. If you have not done so already, we suggest first reading The Changing Middle East: Revolt Against Artificial Borders – Part I  and  The Changing Middle East: Revolt Against Artificial Borders – Part II

What should Israel expect in this constantly changing environment? Here opinions differ.

“Up until now many in the Israeli establishment believed Assad was a guarantee of stability, as he was the person who kept our northern border quiet for the past forty years,” said Paz. “Now the situation is changing with many officials preferring to see him toppled. In any case, chaos is not good for Israel because it’s not manageable, you can never know what the outcome will be,” he continued.

Talking about the possible repercussions for the entire area, Paz also stressed that the fall of Assad could lead to further destabilization, prompting revolts in Jordan and Palestine, two areas that have thus far remained relatively stable. “The Jewish state might be drawn into a conflict if the regime [in Jordan] is threatened,” he said. The expert referred to the events of 1970 when Israel was prepared to send troops to Jordan in a bid to oust Palestinian Liberation Organization, a terrorist movement that aimed to depose the late King Hussein.

Perlov voiced a different view. “No matter what happens, we shouldn’t panic. The division of Syria is not fatal for Israel. I am sure we will be able to come to terms with Kurdistan and any other new state that might emerge. Any scenario is better than Assad,” she reasoned, while acknowledging that the ouster of the current regime might create power vacuums, easily filled by hostile elements that could promote violent cross-border tensions and crime. “There are dangers but with the right management of the crisis, Israel can only benefit from a new regime in Syria,” she concluded.

There are historical precedents for bloody conflicts that were resolved by partition. The dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1990’s — a region with a history of ethnic conflicts — brought the creation of several independent countries that mostly live in peace with each other. Will Syria share the same fate? Experts agree that it is too early to tell.

 

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Terrorist missiles fired at Eilat

Thursday, August 16, 2012 | Ryan Jones – http://www.israeltoday.co.il

Terrorist forces presumably operating out of the Sinai Peninsula fired two GRAD-type missiles at the southern Israel town of Eilat on Wednesday night.

Both missiles landed in open areas outside of Eilat and did not cause any injuries or damage, but did result in a degree of panic in the bustling Red Sea resort.

The missiles rocked Eilat just as popular Israeli singer Eyal Golan was beginning a beach-front concert for 4,000 fans. Police officers quickly got on stage and told the crowed to evacuate the premises.

The little known Salafi Front in Sinai claimed responsibility for the attack, as well as for a string of assaults on the Egypt-Israel gas pipeline over the course of the past year.

The group urged Egyptian forces to halt their new crackdown on Sinai terror groups, insisting that they should all be focused on “the Zionist enemy.”

Another Sinai-based Salafi group, the Army of Islam, threatened to launch a wave of suicide bombings in Cairo if government forces did not stop harassing the Islamist groups.

Salafi Muslims are seen as even more radical then their Sunni brothers, and Egypt’s largest Salafi movement won a considerable number of seats in Egypt’s recent parliamentary election, placing second only to the victorious Muslim Brotherhood.

There is mounting concern in Israel that the situation in Egypt will begin to mirror that in Gaza, where a larger terror groups holds the reins of political power, and ultimately does little or nothing to stop smaller, allied terror groups from attacking Israel.

 

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