The Fern Sidman Commentaries:
June 21st, 2007: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
As of June 20, the situation of a Hamas controlled Palestinian state in Gaza appears to be rapidly deteriorating into a major humanitarian crisis for Palestinian refugees seeking to escape. According to a JTA report, a United Nations relief agency announced that, "Palestinians in the cut-off Gaza Strip could face food shortages within two weeks. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report issued Wednesday that supplies of necessities like flour, rice and oil to Gaza could be choked off entirely unless Israel reopens a commercial crossing that was sealed after Hamas seized control of the territory last week. 'The reopening of Karni crossing is vital to prevent general food shortages in 2-4 weeks,' the report said. Israel, with foreign support, has declared it will isolate the Hamas administration in Gaza while maintaining vital supplies to the general Palestinian populace. Several truckloads of food and medical supplies were allowed into the territory Tuesday."
The Associated Press reported on June 20 that, "Some 200 Palestinians hoping to flee Gaza were still huddled in a concrete passageway at the Erez border crossing, the main conduit between Gaza and Israel that has been closed since the start of the Hamas takeover. The Israeli military said a teenager with leukemia and four other Palestinians in need of medical care were allowed to cross Wednesday. Israel also allowed in all foreign nationals living in Gaza. Military spokesman Shadi Yassin said buses brought over some 90 Ukrainians, and Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency reported the evacuation of 69 Russian and seven Belarusian citizens was completed. The Red Cross coordinated the transfer Tuesday of seven Palestinians who had been wounded in the Gaza fighting and hoped to arrange for six to nine more to cross, spokesman Bernard Barrett said. The U.N. World Food Program, meanwhile, began trucking in 225 metric tons of food into Gaza through Israel, in addition to 200 metric tons of food and medical supplies sent in Tuesday."
It has also been reported that the United States has lifted the economic sanctions that it had imposed on the PA government while Hamas was in power. According to a JTA release of 6/19, "The United States is re-establishing full ties with the Palestinian Authority and resuming assistance at levels that existed before Hamas assumed governance. Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. secretary of state, said she spoke Monday with the new P.A. prime minister, Salam Fayyad, and congratulated him on assuming his post — a result of the disillusion of the Hamas-led government by P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas. Fayyad will still serve as finance minister. 'I told him the United States would resume full assistance to the Palestinian government and normal government-to-government contact,' Rice said at a State Department briefing. Rice said the United States would continue to funnel emergency funds to the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is now in full control, through the U.S. Relief and Works Agency. She said $40 million in emergency relief was on its way."
The government of Israel is also planning to release frozen tax revenue to the Abbas emergency government on the condition that the money will not reach the Hamas administration in Gaza. JTA reports that, "Reuters quoted Israeli officials as saying Tuesday that there plans to transfer as much as $400 million in tax revenues directly to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ new emergency government. 'Gaza is a terrorist-controlled entity now,' an Israeli official said. 'No financial assistance can go to any entity or person with connections to the Hamas-run administration in Gaza.' The embargo would not include humanitarian supplies to Gaza, which Reuters reported could be stepped up."
LOOK WHO IS CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK
Meanwhile, back in Ramallah, the Associated Press (6/20) reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas lashed out at the Islamic militants of Hamas on Wednesday, accusing them of trying to build an "empire of darkness" in the Gaza Strip and pledging he would not negotiate with the "murderous terrorists." Addressing Palestinians for the first time since Hamas seized control of Gaza a week ago, Abbas said Hamas had attacked "national symbols" during the fighting in the coastal territory, including ransacking the house of the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat. Several hours before Abbas’ speech, Israel fired missiles and sent tanks on a foray into Gaza, killing four Palestinians in the deadliest military action since Hamas militants took control there. Two more militants were killed by Israeli army fire in a shootout in the West Bank. After nightfall, the Palestinians hit back with a barrage of rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. First Hamas, then Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. One rocket struck a house, and Israel TV said two Israelis were slightly wounded."
It would appear that we’re living in a world gone totally mad. Both the United States and Israel are now placing their hopes for a long lasting "peace" between Israel and her Palestinian neighbors in the hands of arch terrorist Mahmoud Abbas. While the US and Israel are attempting to reconcile their desire for peace while simultaneously attempting to isolate Hamas, it is clear that the terrorist record of Fatah, under the leadership of Abbas has been vanquished. Fatah, and it’s military wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade was under the command of jailed leader Marwan Barghouti who was arrested by Israeli authorities in April of 2002, charged with the murder of 26 people and belonging to a terrorist organization. The group has carried out numerous operations against Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza, and suicide attacks on civilians inside Israel.
According to a report by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated May 2, 2002, "Marwan Barghouti, the head of the Fatah in the West Bank, stated when questioned that he was personally involved in directing terrorist attacks which resulted in the killing and injuring of scores of Israeli civilians. Barghouti described in detail the transfer of funds to the terrorist operatives. As the Secretary-General of the Fatah, Barghouti was responsible for providing the funding for weapons acquisition and armed operations. Every operative requiring financing was made to fill out a detailed requisition request. Barghouti then added his recommendation and signature, and relayed the requests to PA Chairman Yasser Arafat. Barghouti stressed that every expense - even the smallest sum - required the approval of Arafat himself. After receiving Arafat’s approval, the funding was transferred to the operatives according to the instructions of Hakem Bil’awi, the Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee, who was responsible for disbursements. In addition to Barghouti, other senior Fatah figures, who were subordinate to Barghouti, provided details about Arafat’s role in the execution of terrorist attacks."
The report went on to say that, "Nasser Aweis, the head of the Fatah infrastructure in Samaria, was responsible for the recruiting, arming and handling of terrorist cells. He stated in questioning that he personally, together with other Tanzim terrorist operatives under his command, received funding directly approved by Yasser Arafat. He explained that the names of the Tanzim terrorist operatives were sent to Marwan Barghouti, who would then present their requests for funding to Arafat for his signature. The operatives would subsequently receive checks corresponding to the approved sum.
Nasser Aweis admitted to having been behind numerous terrorist bombings and shootings in Israel, among them:
- 17 January 2002 - A bombing attack at a banquet hall in Hadera, in which 6 Israelis were killed and 26 wounded.
- 22 January 2002 - A shooting attack in downtown Jerusalem, in which two Israelis were killed and 36 wounded.
- 25 February 2002 - A shooting attack in Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem, in which an Israeli policewoman was killed, and 10 civilians wounded.
- 5 March 2002 - A shooting attack on the 'Seafood Market' restaurant in Tel Aviv, in which three Israelis were killed.
- 9 March 2002 - A gun and grenade attack in the Margoa Hotel in Netanya, in which two Israelis were killed and 50 wounded.
If the United States and Israel needed something to refresh their memory of the terrorist activities of Fatah, they need not look further. We would be foolish to believe that Fatah has moderated its position on the destruction of Israel. While currently at odds with Hamas, reports emanating from Hamas leadership indicate that they believe the military and economic support being funneled to Fatah will eventually reach them in Gaza.
According to a report from Arutz Sheva news service of 6/20, "A senior Hamas terrorist told WorldNetDaily that Hamas is encouraged by the funding and arming of Fatah in Judea and Samaria - as the Islamist group is certain it will inherit those weapons and funds just as it did when it took over Gaza. 'Like the American weapons in Gaza we told you would come to Hamas, also the weapons and aid the Americans are giving to Abu Mazen (Abbas) as part of their conspiracy against us in the West Bank will find its way to the Palestinian resistance and Hamas,' Hamas’s Abu Abdullah said. He would not say whether Hamas was planning to take over Judea and Samaria from Fatah in the near future, but said he 'hopes' that the US continues to provide large quantities of weaponry to Fatah so Hamas can inherit them. Hamas is currently 'swimming' in American weapons seized last week from Fatah facilities, according to Abdullah."