Hamas has once more put out feeler presumably seeking to make amends with the Palestinian Authority. Their petition has an obvious outreach and a hidden attempt at subversion. Hamas leaders publicized their agreement to an Egyptian initiative to create a new peace agreement and arrange a meeting in Cairo between Hamas and Fatah leaders. This is irregular in that it was Hamas who complained about obstacles causing the collapse of the last attempt at reconciliation. What are the odds we give this attempt? Honestly, with the reasons given by Hamas and the set of principles and steps they would wish to precede any reengagement, probably ziltch. Hamas is in need of financial assistance and as the Palestinian Authority cut them off from funding, they are almost desperate. Thus, the initial Hamas demand is for the Palestinian Authority to remove all punitive measures against Gaza. Hamas also has made clear…
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Two female Palestinian journalists were beaten during protests in the West Bank in the past week. The two women, Lara Kan’an and Majdoleen Hassona, were assaulted by Palestinian Authority security officers while covering Palestinian demonstrations calling on President Mahmoud Abbas to lift the economic sanctions he imposed last year on the Gaza Strip.
The physical assaults on Kan’an and Hassona are seen by Palestinians as part of the Palestinian Authority’s continued effort to silence critics and intimidate journalists who fail to “toe the line.” The beatings, which took place separately in the West Bank cities of Nablus and Tulkarem, mark a new high in the Palestinian leadership’s crackdown on public freedoms: assaulting an Arab woman on the street is considered a humiliation of the highest order to her and her clan.
While such assaults spark protests among Palestinians, the international community and Western correspondents covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continue to play their game of “See No Evil.” When the perpetrators are Palestinians, they can get away with — literally, murder — from the perspective of International human rights organizations and groups ostensibly concerned about freedom of the media. What would have been the response on the part of the international community and press, one wonders, had the two Palestinian women even been roughed up by Israeli soldiers.
On May 6, Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s Minister of the Interior, was shot during a rally in his own constituency, in the province of Punjab. Fortunately, he survived the attack, but the bullet in his abdomen could not be removed. “The bullet lodged in my body… will keep reminding me of the impending need to remove the seeds of hatred sowed in the country,” Iqbal said.
An initial report suggested that the main suspect, Abid Hussain, 21, had carefully planned the attack; recently, Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Court issued an 8-day judicial remand of four possible accomplices.
According to other reports, Hussain is linked to Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) — also known as Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (“Movement of the Prophet’s Followers”). TLP is a new Sunni extremist party known for aggressively calling for enforcing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which can carry the death penalty, and for opposing any relaxation of these laws.
Many fear that this assault is not an isolated incident and that other members of the cabinet are on the TLP’s hit list. This apprehension, however, does not mean that the government is against sharia or blasphemy laws, or is even thinking of reforming them. Many extremist Muslims are aiming at even more government submission to sharia through intimidation and terror.
Hamas must be castigated globally for the kite bomb and incendiary balloon attacks it has been conducting against Israel in recent months, two top American Jewish leaders said on Tuesday.
“These are acts of terror that must be condemned by all those who profess to care about the poisoning of the atmosphere and the destruction of the ecosystem, let alone peace in the region,” Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP) Chairman Arthur Stark and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement. “We urge environmental organizations in the US and abroad as well as people of good will to join in condemning these acts of eco-terrorism.”
A strange, startling and deeply unfamiliar sound was heard this week. A Trump tweet imploding, perhaps? Kim Jong-Un finally destroying his nuclear arsenal? A distant rumble from the Hawaii volcano?
No. It was the sound of the European Union and United Nations loudly supporting Israel against attack.
In the heaviest onslaught since 2014, southern Israel was attacked from Gaza this week by Islamic Jihad and Hamas launching dozens of rocket and mortar attacks, as well as bursts of machine-gun fire. An Israeli kindergarten was hit, although no one was hurt. After Israel pummeled terrorist targets, Egypt brokered a truce.
What was striking was that the Israel-averse European Union, United Nations, France, Italy, Germany and Ireland criticized the Gaza attackers and expressed support for Israel.
France declared that its commitment to Israel’s security was “unwavering.” Germany said the targeting of Israeli civilians was “malicious,” and that it was “Israel’s right to preserve its security, defend its borders and respond proportionately to attacks.”