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In a TV address, Mashaal rejected the Gaza truce extension after it formally expires on December 19. There’s no truce, anyway: the number of Kassam rockets and shells fired into Israel doubled during the truce. According to Mashaal, Hamas significantly strengthened its arsenal during the ceasefire.

Mashaal’s statement might not be something to be taken at face value, but intended to press Israel and Egypt for more concessions. As Fatah and Hamas MPs signed a joint petition calling for reconciliation, Hamas would have a hard time selling a divisive militant policy to common Palestinians.

In the wake of presidential elections, Hamas would bet a lot by intensifying its military campaign against Israel. A victory against the invading Israeli troops—a very likely outcome of urban battles—would greatly strengthen Hamas in the elections. But weeks of indecisive fighting that leaves much of the Gazan infrastructure destroyed might as well alienate the Palestinian voters.

Hamas so far is hugely popular in Gaza. Anywhere between fifty and two hundred thousand Gazans attended today’s celebrations as Hamas turned twenty-one. In contrast to previous events, which had a mostly military outlook, the current one was markedly more joyful, and included children’s activities. After years of fighting, Hamas returns to its trademark social activities.

Mashaal, located in Damascus, acts as Assad’s agent. Syria clashed with Egypt, which refused to support Hamas’ spiraling attacks. Iran—Syria’s master state—has its own problems with Egypt, which recently culminated in the government-sponsored anti-Mubarak demonstrations in Tehran.

Two Israeli Arab residents, who live near the affluent French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem, planned to kidnap Israel Border policemen. The youngsters, Abdallah and Iyad Abid, are Hamas members.

After a legal battle that culminated in the High Court order to allow the Jewish event in the Israeli Arab town of Umm al Fahm, conservative Jews were to march there with Israeli flags. Arabs and leftists decried the march as provocation. Indeed, it is so provocative for Jews to march with Israeli flags in an Israeli town.

Police were widely expected to cancel the event, scheduled for tomorrow; and they did today, citing concerns over public safety.

But consider this: if the police know that the mere sight of Israeli Jews walking in an Israeli Arab town with Israeli flags can cause massive Arab disturbances, perhaps there’s something wrong with Jewish-Arab coexistence? Should the police chief be fired for failing to enforce basic order in Israeli Arab towns? Should the Arabs be expelled as summarily hostile to Jews? Should the entire Umm al Fahm Arab population be jailed for high treason and rioting? No, police found fault with Baruch Marzel: Jew, don’t you dare provoke our Arabs.

According to the leftist Adva report, half of Israeli Arabs live below poverty line. So much for the fake statistics: you don’t draw poverty line to include half the population. Poverty is a matter of definition, must be relative. By artificially increasing the poverty line, leftists present their case for massive Jewish subsidies to “poor” Arabs who live in newly-built illegal villas, drive relatively expensive cars, and ply their trade in black market economy. The number of “poor” Arabs is also driven by their polygamy: a typical Arab registers three of his four wives as single mothers, and moronic Jews rush to subsidize them.

In an interview with Newsru, Barak clarified that the reason he and his political accomplices postponed the invasion of Gaza is the necessity of re-occupying it. Obviously, Israel can root Hamas out only by taking over Gaza, staying there, and patiently removing every trace of Hamas. But to do so is to accept the error of disengagement. Such a precedent would be dangerous for the establishment, which claims that the army protects settlers in the West Bank just as it protected Gush Katif residents in Gaza. If the army protects Israel rather than settlers (are they not Israelis?), then the case for disengagement from the West Bank is weak.

The current truce was engineered by Ehud Barak. His envoy is negotiating the extension in Cairo. Despite daily violations of the truce and Hamas using it for military buildup, Barak avoids invasion of Gaza. A daring commando has become a cowardly general: Barak was the only member of the Security Cabinet to vote against the bombing of Syria’s nuclear reactor. Barak’s hyperactive personality always finds a hundred reasons why a particular move is too dangerous or politically incorrect. He’s an excellent tactician who devises perfect operations when ordered to do so, but he’s very bad at framing strategy.

The Israeli Defense Ministry will compensate Hebron Arabs for the damage inflicted by Jewish settlers during the riots there.
Many Gush Katif evictees haven’t received proper compensation yet, but who cares? Barak fishes for Arab votes.

Hebron settler Zeev BraudeThe Israeli Supreme Court heard the police appeal to keep Zeev Braude in jail until trial. According to police, Braude is too dangerous to society to stay under house arrest. The court will announce its decision this week. The lack of immediate order indicates that the leftist judge doubts the police’s version of the events.

Hebron shooter Zeev Braude

December 2008
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