The New Middle East: A Graveyard

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh embarks on an Arab Spring tour to put a human face on his inhuman terrorist organization.

While on the Tunisia leg of his vaunted Middle East marathon, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that Muslims will create the new Middle East. Ismail Haniyeh does not have a sterling reputation for telling the truth but his stating that Muslims will create the New Middle East is correct – a New Middle East graveyard. Estimated death tolls from a series of so-called Arab Spring rebellions include Syria – 6000; Yemen – 500; Bahrain 200; Libya – 30,000; Egypt – 1000;  Tunisia – 300. This is an estimated total of 38,000 people killed for the sake of the so-called Arab Spring. An abhorrent number. Clearly, based on these numbers it has been an Arab Abattoir and leave it to an arch terrorist like Haniyeh to overlook this carnage in his boastful declarations.

Haniyeh has distinguished himself on his tour of Islamic countries recently by saying other empty boastful and meaningless things. Haniyeh reiterated his pledge not “to lay down our arms” or recognize Israel. He has championed issues ranging from stopping the “Judaization of Jerusalem,” the IDF blockade on Gaza to the so-called Arab Spring revolutions that he claims have influenced favorably the Palestinian cause. Haniyeh also told an interviewer for the British paper Independent that he thinks Israel is encountering its worst security problems and that Egypt will not allow Israel to attack Gaza, and will suspend its support of the Gaza siege as well.

Who is Ismayil Haniyeh? What gives him the nerve to spout such preposterous folderol and balderdash?

Haniyeh was born in the Al-Shati refugee camp in the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip. His parents became refugees, after they fled from their homes in Majdal (currently Ashkelon, Israel) during Israel’s War of Independence. In 1987, he graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza with a degree in Arabic literature. In 1989, he was imprisoned for three years by Israeli authorities for participation in the First Intifada and membership with Hamas. Following his release in 1992, he was exiled to Lebanon with Ahmed Yassin, Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi and other senior Hamas terrorists. A year later, he returned to Gaza and was appointed as Dean of the Islamic University.

Haniyeh’s rise to a position of influence in Hamas Islamic terror society in Gaza is nothing special. The real farce – folderol and balderdash in earnest – began when Hamas won the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006 and Haniyeh became prime minister.

On January 25, 2006, elections were held for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Notwithstanding the 2005 municipal elections and the January 9, 2005 presidential election, this was the first election to the PLC since 1996. Palestinian Authority elections were repeatedly postponed due to instability stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian voters in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including East Jerusalem were eligible to participate in the 2006 election.

Final results show that Hamas won the election, with 74 seats to the ruling-Fatah’s 45, providing Hamas with the majority of the 132 available seats and the ability to form a majority government on its own.

Then-Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei resigned, but at the request of President Mahmoud Abbas, remained as interim Prime Minister until February 19, when Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh formed the new government.

The terrorist Hamas’s entry into Palestinian government triggered sanctions. The 2006–2007 economic sanctions against the Palestinian National Authority were imposed by Israel and the Quartet on the Middle East against the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian territories.

Israel and the Quartet stated that sanctions would be lifted only when the Hamas government met the following demands:

• Renunciation of violence;

• Recognition of Israel by the Hamas government (as had the PLO); and

• Acceptance of previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority.

The international sanctions were terminated in June 2007 following the Battle of Gaza, while at the same time a new and more severe blockade of the Gaza Strip was initiated.

The Hamas government, led by Haniyeh, of course spurned the demands that would have lifted the sanctions.

President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed Haniyeh from office on 14 June 2007 at the height of the Battle for Gaza, but Haniyeh did not acknowledge the decree and continues to exercise prime ministerial authority in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Legislative Council also continues to recognize his authority.

On June 14, 2007, Abbas also appointed Salam Fayyad in Haniyeh’s place. This followed action by Hamas armed forces to take control of Gaza. The appointment of Fayyad to replace Haniyeh has been challenged as illegal, because under the Palestinian Basic Law, the president of the Palestinian Authority may dismiss a sitting prime minister, but may not appoint a replacement without the approval of the Palestinian Legislative Council. According to the law, until a new prime minister is thus appointed, the outgoing prime minister heads a caretaker government. Fayyad’s appointment was never placed before, or approved, by the Legislative Council. For this reason, Haniyeh has continued to operate in Gaza, and been recognized by a large number of Palestinians as the legitimate acting prime minister. Anis al-Qasem, the Palestinian constitutional lawyer who drafted the Basic Law, is among those who publicly declared the appointment of Fayyad to be illegal.

Illegal or not, Fayyad has maintained his appointment as Palestinian prime minister for five years. This perhaps demonstrates that the wheels of law and justice in government are not the most essential parts of political life in the Palestinian view of things. Haniyeh’s election as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority in 2006 is obviously what gives him the temerity to travel the world and wave the Hamas flag and pretend to be the official spokesman for Palestinian and Islamic liberation. Technically he won election as Palestinian prime minister fair and square. It is Abbas and his cronies who are playing fast and loose with the rule of Palestinian election law. But no one seems to wag a finger in protest, much less condemnation.

The picture is not simple because Hamas refused to concede on their stubborn Islamic aspirations in Gaza and in 2007 violently overcame the Fatah forces there and took over the entire strip in a bloody coup. All Fatah loyalists were either chased out of Gaza or killed. Five years after the coup one would think there would be some residue of anger and resentment in the Abbas Fatah circle that would compel them to view Hamas negatively, and work to prevent any rapprochement or Palestinian unity. But Abbas is beating the drum aggressively for rapprochement with Hamas and even wants to integrate Hamas in the PA political structure. This of course is the height of Palestinian folderol and balderdash and serves only as a tactic to stab Israel in the back.

While there had been a Hamas-Fatah unity government for a few months in 2006, when Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, Abbas abolished the unity government, boldly announced the dismissal of Haniyeh and his equally bold intention to rule the territories of the PA by presidential decree.

Following the takeover of the Gaza Strip Egypt and Israel sealed their border crossings with Gaza, on the grounds that Fatah had fled and was no longer providing security on the Palestinian side. Egypt fearing a spill-over of Hamas-style militancy into their territory assisted in the blockade. The sanctions were tightened in response to Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel and terrorist attacks on crossing points between Israel and Gaza. Israel’s main reason for maintaining a blockade on Gaza is that the blockade prevents illegal smuggling of weapons to Hamas.

In brief, through typical folderol and balderdash Ismail Haniyeh is struggling to put a human face on the Hamas terrorist organization, but this is like struggling to take the hump out of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Hamas will always be an evil inhuman organization despite the crowds cheering for Hamas and Haniyeh in Tunis and despite the warmth and cordiality it receives from Turkey’s Erdogan, among other Islamofascists.

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