22 April 2007

Law does not apply

If you want to know why almost no one takes Hamas seriously as civic representatives of the Palestinian territories, all you need is the latest headline in the Jerusalem Post: Hamas calls for new attacks on Israel.

Hamas on Sunday called for new attacks on Israel after nine Palestinians were killed in a surge of fighting over the weekend.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum urged Palestinians to be prepared for a new round of confrontation.

"The blood of our people is not cheap," he said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press. "Therefore we are calling on ... (Hamas's armed wing) and the Palestinian resistance groups to be united in the trench of resistance and to use all possible means of resistance and to respond to the massacres."

The Corsicans and their blood feuds got nothing on these idiots. Let's not forget that the Palestinians killed this week were all involved in the very activities for expansion of which Mr. Barhoun is now calling for.
The two Aksa terrorists, including a top bombmaker, were killed in the Casbah of Nablus after IDF troops surrounded a building where they were hiding and ordered people out, the group said. Most occupants came out, but the two operatives remained holed up inside. An exchange of fire broke out, and the two men were killed.

On Saturday night, IAF helicopters killed a member of a Kassam rocket cell in a car in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding one of his confederates. It was the second such missile strike since Israel accepted a Gaza cease-fire in November.

Earlier Saturday, Gazans fired four Kassam rockets into Sderot; one scored a direct hit on a home, sending several people into shock.
Three terrorist organizations - Islamic Jihad, and Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigades - claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks in a joint statement.

They said they were carried out to avenge the deaths of three terrorists killed by border police in Jenin earlier in the day.

The Daily Star (Beirut) has a different headline, but substantially the same facts:
Two teenagers among dead as Israelis raid Gaza, West Bank

Karim Zahran, 17, was shot dead while throwing stones at Israeli troops near the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian security sources and medics said.

The Israeli Army said troops fired at a man in a crowd who was about to throw a Molotov cocktail at soldiers.

In the northern West Bank town of Nablus, the army shot dead two gunmen from Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group affiliated with President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, Palestinian security sources and the army said. The Palestinian sources identified the dead men as Fadel Nur, 23, and Amin Lubadi, 25, and said they were killed during heavy exchanges of fire with the Israeli troops.

Al-Aqsa Brigades vowed to retaliate for the killings.

"We do not cooperate with the Israelis and we use only the language of arms, as it's the only one they understand," Al-Aqsa official Nasser Al-Kharaz told AFP. He also called on Abbas "to cease all contacts and meetings with the Israelis as these do not bring anything and give the world the illusion that Israel speaks of peace."

The Daily Star gives an even better idea of how crass Barhum's comments were.

"We call on Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades [the armed wing of Hamas] and all other Palestinian resistance factions to unite and use all means to respond to the massacres of the occupation," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said.

Another Hamas spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, called on "the international community to pressure the Israeli government so it stops its crimes against the Palestinian people."

Massacres of the occupation?? Crimes against the Palestinian people? Why not just ask, as a condition for peace, for 10 Israelis to be sent voluntarily to Gaza daily to be blown up? The attitude also explains why the PA police is impotent to stop any crimes either within the territories or against Israelis. They want criminality with impunity. I am not going to try to split hairs over whether throwing rocks, as opposed to throwing a Molotov cocktail, constitutes sufficient threat to the IDF to provoke it to shoot. It's a minor point compared to the rest of this situation.

There is even a bit of irony here. Note that even Arab and other developing world publications have finally adopted more appropriate language and identify Palestinian gunmen and bombmakers who have a tendency of dropping dead from Israeli raids as "Palestinian militants". (Never mind that even Western European papers still tend to adopt the "facts" from Palestinian sources, often ignoring the Israeli version of each story.) In the past, there was no implication in print reports that these men were involved in any sort of adverse activity when IDF soldiers just happened to have killed them.

So this change in coverage is an improvement, right? Perhaps. On the other hand, "militant" has become almost a badge of honor and the response from Palestinian groups remains the same--militant or not, with or without the gun, they reserve the right to retaliate for any Palestinians killed.

An odd parallel--Dahlia Lithwick seems to have come to similar conclusions about Alberto Gonzales's testimony. She is wondering if Gonzo's testimony was not just an elaborate bird-flipping by the White House. Keeping Gonzo in place is not denial--it's a provocation to a virtually impotent Democratic Congress: No matter how criminal we get, you can't touch us (or we'll cry "politics").