US Congress seeks to thwart Palestinian reconciliation — hearing WINEP testimony based on Israeli army blog

Israel/Palestine
on 44 Comments

The big news in Palestinian politics is reconciliation: the leaders of Fatah and Hamas are meeting in Cairo this weekend to discuss the supervision of upcoming elections for the Palestinian National Council and the formation of a unity government.

But preventing Fatah-Hamas reconciliation was the agenda in Congress last Wednesday– at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing titled, The Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation: Threatening Peace Prospects. Middle East Subcommittee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen set the pro-Israel tone in her opening statement (video 2:04):

We are witnessing Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority] and Hamas seeking to unify their mutual hatred toward the democratic state of Israel.

The subsequent testimonies of three Israel lobbyists– the only witnesses invited to address the panel– sought to buttress this claim. The analysis provided by Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (transcript here) was based on Israeli government sources, notably Shin Bet, the Israeli government Security Agency, and the Israeli army blog. Yes, the Israeli army blog: “IDF & ISA [Shin Bet intelligence] Uncover Hamas Terrorist Assets in Hebron.”

Do we really need expert witnesses before Congress pipelining Israeli military propaganda to thwart Palestinian political movement? WINEP was founded by the Israel lobby organization AIPAC; and Levitt often sounded like a mouthpiece for the Israeli government in his testimony about the terrorist threat Hamas supposedly poses in the West Bank, and Israel’s crackdown on Hamas:

At the end of January, the IDF and Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet) arrested twenty known Hamas members in Hebron (West Bank). They are known as Hamas members because they had served prison sentences in Israel previously for terrorist activity. They were planning on carrying out kidnapping plots and had more than ten guns of various types. The investigation revealed that the terror cell maintained contact with high-ranking Hamas officials to receive assistance, directions, and funding. The cell’s primary contact was Husam Badran, a former prisoner who was part of the exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Badran was released from prison in October 2011 and exiled to Qatar. The terrorist cell has been indicted on charges of weapons possession, contacting a hostile organization, and conspiracy to kidnap an IDF soldier.7 The IDF also noted that the “terrorists’ primary goal was to execute a kidnapping attack in order to bargain for the release of prisoners.” 8

The timing of the congressional hearing, right on the heels of a big Israeli push against Hamas, and right ahead of the reconciliation talks in Cairo, is certainly convenient for Israel and its friends in the U.S. Xinhua:

The Israeli army arrested [last] Monday 21 Hamas members in the West Bank, including three lawmakers, during pre-dawn raids, well-informed Palestinian sources said, while the Israeli military said more arrests are underway.

Most of the arrests were taken place in Nablus city, targeting nine senior members of the Islamic movement, said Hurriyat Center for Prisoners Rights in a statement.

Meanwhile, a Israeli military spokeswoman said that 25 Palestinians wanted for questioning by security forces were arrested, the majority of them are Hamas sympathizers.

AlJazeera: Israel arrests Hamas lawmakers in West Bank

“Twenty-five Palestinians were arrested, 23 of them belonged to Hamas,” she said.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official in the West Bank, condemned the arrests, describing them as “deliberate Israeli plans to destabilise the internal situation, interfere in Palestinian institutions… and deal a blow to national reconciliation,” according to the AFP news agency.

AFP:

Hamas has 74 members in the 132-seat Palestinian Authority Legislative Council, which is based in Ramallah. ….Security sources have told AFP that Israel plans to step up arrests of suspected militants in the West Bank to prevent a rising tide of low-intensity conflict and civil unrest from turning into an uprising.

How does arresting elected lawmakers prevent an uprising? It doesn’t. But the sad fact is that the Israelis can count on political cover in Washington from the congressional subcommittee hearing, warning about the dangers of Hamas to the so-called peace process.

That Israel military blog that Levitt cited in his testimony is crowing that on Jan 27, Israeli soldiers “thwarted a significant terror attack on an Israeli community” — i.e., an illegal Israeli settlement. And the blog published a letter supposedly laying out the terrorist plan.

When IDF soldiers arrested two Palestinians after they hurled firebombs at an IDF post in Judea and Samaria, they discovered this letter on the scene. It was written by the Al-Aqsa Brigade, which declared intent to carry out a terror attack in Alon Moreh, a nearby Israeli community:

letter al aqsa brigades
Alleged AlAqsa Brigades letter announcing intention to attack

The blog offers this translation of the Arabic text:

“The al-Aqsa Brigade takes full responsibility for the terror attack in the Alon Moreh community. The al-Aqsa Brigade is announcing the operation before its implementation. If the operation has failed, it will be repeated additional times in a wider manner — every minute, every hour, every moment — starting today.”

– Al-Aqsa Brigade, Arrows of Freedom Group

What luck! Israelis intercept a hand-written communique with intent to carry out a terror attack at the scene of some Palestinians hurling firebombs. That doesn’t explain why Israelis are arresting Hamas legislators though; Israel now detains 15 Palestinian MPs according to the Palestinian Parliament.

Nor does it begin to explain why the US Congress is serving as a pipeline for Israeli military intelligence, at a time when Palestinian leaders are trying to reconcile their differences.

44 Responses

  1. Jeff Klein
    February 9, 2013, 1:28 pm

    Annie, you just don’t get the Israeli message filtering through Ros-Leitinen:
    Palestinian disunity is a barrier to peace — and Palestinian unity is a threat to peace.
    What’s so hard about that to understand?
    Zionist think there will be peace when Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state in Biblical Eretz Yisroel — followed by their self-deportation or suicide.

    • James Canning
      February 9, 2013, 2:27 pm

      Some Zionists do clearly think Israel can annex most of the West Bank, and rely on dishonest and foolish US Congress for protection.

    • Antidote
      February 9, 2013, 3:47 pm

      “What’s so hard about that to understand?”

      It’s not complicated. One of the prerequisites for recognition of statehood is effective government. So obviously Palestinian unity is a threat to peace as defined and mapped by the Israelis. It’s the old divide and conquer trick

      ——

      These criteria were enumerated in the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States:

      The State as a person of international law should possess the following
      qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c)
      government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other States (Article 1).

      It is generally agreed that these conditions represent customary international law. More or less the same criteria were adopted in 1992 by the Arbitration Commission (the Badinter Commission) established by the European Conference on Yugoslavia.

      [...]

      The third condition for statehood is the existence of an effective government with control over the population and the territory. No particular system of government is required, and what counts is the effectiveness of the governing body. When the state is established as a consequence of decolonization, sometimes the requirement of effectiveness is less stringent (e.g., the Congo in 1960). If the new state has been recognized by many other states, the effectiveness requirement may become less stringent.

      link to israelcfr.com

      • RoHa
        February 10, 2013, 12:10 am

        “The State as a person of international law should possess the following
        qualifications: …(b) a defined territory;…”

        So if the “State” does not have defined borders, it is a real State in international law?

      • RoHa
        February 10, 2013, 8:13 pm

        Or is it not a real state?

    • Annie Robbins
      February 13, 2013, 1:34 am

      Annie, you just don’t get the Israeli message filtering through Ros-Leitinen:
      Palestinian disunity is a barrier to peace — and Palestinian unity is a threat to peace.

      what gives you this impression i don’t ‘get it’ jeff?

      What’s so hard about that to understand?

      are you being facetious/snarking? or do you really think i researched and wrote this not comprehending what was going on? please explain your objections to the framing that leads you to believe i am clueless and i will attempt improvements in the future so the first comment on the thread doesn’t read like

  2. Avi_G.
    February 9, 2013, 2:07 pm

    But preventing Fatah-Hamas reconciliation was the agenda in Congress last Wednesday– at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing titled, The Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation: Threatening Peace Prospects. Middle East Subcommittee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen set the pro-Israel tone in her opening statement (video 2:04):

    It’s unfortunate that such hacks, shills and liars wield any power at all in this day and age.

    So including 1.5 million Palestinians in a peace process that’s been a farce anyway is a threat to peace.

    In other news, war is peace and Natanyahu is the incarnation of Mother Teresa.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 9, 2013, 2:20 pm

      avi, you left out the blockquote! my favorite line of hers:

      We are witnessing Abu Mazen and Hamas seeking to unify their mutual hatred toward the democratic state of Israel.

      lol!

      btw, the entire panel discussion is available on video at the ‘ The Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation: Threatening Peace Prospects’ link. the congress panelists all make pro israel speeches prior to the witness testimony proving how on board they are.

      stuff like rep deutch 31:18, ‘let me be clear, the united states will not accept a palestinian government that includes hamas. our laws dictate aid to the pa shall cease if hamas plays any significant role in the government without first adhering to the quartet principles” and then some way more inflammatory.

      • Hostage
        February 9, 2013, 3:00 pm

        ‘let me be clear, the united states will not accept a palestinian government that includes hamas. our laws dictate aid to the pa shall cease if hamas plays any significant role in the government without first adhering to the quartet principles”

        US aid to the Palestinians has been earmarked since the 2007 elections. 70 percent is for purchases from US companies and most of the remainder goes to USAID projects (e.g. road construction) that only tend to assist Israel and entrench the apartheid system. Abbas and Erekat had both noted that the old PA wasn’t the beneficiary of the US aid money, when they ignored the previous warnings.

        The US has several laws on the books which require that aid to Israel cease, but the Congress has never enforced any of those. Israel’s continuing construction in the settlement blocks and plans for new ones are flagrant violations of international law and the Quartet terms of reference.

      • Castellio
        February 9, 2013, 8:27 pm

        It actually gets better, she continues… ” these overtures can leave the peace process in serious jeopardy.”

        Imagine, the peace process is in serious jeopardy if the organizations representing the people with whom you are supposedly negotiating agree. In the usual world, their agreement would be a prerequisite for any successful negotiation.

        Can divide and let wither be any more obvious as the on-going US / Israeli position?

      • gamal
        February 10, 2013, 11:43 am

        “Imagine, the peace process is in serious jeopardy if the organizations representing the people with whom you are supposedly negotiating agree. In the usual world, their agreement would be a prerequisite for any successful negotiation.”

        “successful negotiation”, yes agreement is a threat to the peace process which is intended to be eternal, an endless process, those calling for an agreement are a threat to the process process.

    • sardelapasti
      February 9, 2013, 2:27 pm

      “It’s unfortunate that such hacks, shills and liars wield any power at all in this day and age.”

      How so, “unfortunate”? Didn’t many, even on this here forum, vote “Democratic” or “Republican”? So what are we complaining about, didn’t we get what we wanted?

      • Blownaway
        February 10, 2013, 2:31 pm

        I would love to see a accounting of the hours Ross Lehtinen devotes to Israel vs Florida business

      • James Canning
        February 10, 2013, 5:17 pm

        Yes, Iliana Ros-Lehtinen does seem to have a primary focus on Israel

  3. James Canning
    February 9, 2013, 2:21 pm

    What utter rubbish, that reconciliantion between Fatah and Hamas is a “threat to peace”!

    WINEP promotes endless war in the Middle East. Thanks, guys and gals.

  4. James Canning
    February 9, 2013, 2:23 pm

    Let’s remember here that Hamas endorsed the 2002 Saudi peace plan, calling for recognition of Israel within its pre-1967 borders.

    WINEP prefers endless war at huge expense to the American taxpayers.

  5. James Canning
    February 9, 2013, 2:24 pm

    With Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in conrol of the House committee, the propaganda in favor of illegal colonisation in the West Bank will be relentless.

    • jimmy
      February 10, 2013, 1:30 am

      along with their wag….the US… terrorizing the rest of the ME…

      to take attention away from them

  6. kalithea
    February 9, 2013, 2:29 pm

    I have something somewhat off-topic, but relevant in some way. CNN has a headline on their news ticker that reads: “Sperm being smuggled from terrorist prison”. They are of course assuming that everyone in an Israeli prison is a terrorist. Apparently Palestinian women are getting inseminated with their imprisoned husbands’ sperm that they carry out in small containers. This part is true. This is great news because no matter what Israel tries: deprivation, imprisonment, ethnic cleansing, targeted killing and slaughtering new generations, Palestinians are resilient, resourceful and hopeful and they still manage to keep surviving AND procreating. Good on them! Because Zionism is a dead-end road and a Palestinian majority will be its demise if nothing else works before that reality unfolds. I just find the way CNN worded that headline laughable; sperm smuggling from “terrorist” prison, as if wanting to procreate, wanting to survive, or having hope for the future is some kind of crime, a “terrorist” crime. Zionists never cease to prove how bonkers they really are.

    • Bumblebye
      February 9, 2013, 5:19 pm

      Grauni had this yesterday:
      link to guardian.co.uk
      Before any hasbrats start squawking about terrorists should not be allowed to procreate, the last para of the article makes abundantly clear the apartheid treatment of non-Jewish prisoners:

      “Although conjugal visits are forbidden for Palestinian prisoners, they are permitted for some Israeli prisoners. Yigal Amir, who is serving a life sentence for the assassination of Israel’s prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, got married while in jail and was permitted a 10-hour conjugal visit in 2006 followed by regular monthly conjugal visits. His wife, Larisa Trombobler, gave birth to a boy in October 2007.”

      • tree
        February 10, 2013, 1:39 am

        Yigal Amir is not the only Jewish Israeli example of this favoritism, nor is a conjugal visit the limit of the perks one gets for being a Jewish prisoner (and murderer) in Israel. Ami Popper, who murdered 7 Palestinian workers execution style and seriously injured 11 others in 1990, was allowed to marry while in prison and had 3 children. He was also allowed out on 48 hour furloughs from prison after serving 10 years of a 40 year sentence(commuted from 7 life sentences). On his 125th furlough, in 2007, he caused an auto accident that killed his own wife and one child. Just recently he was transferred to a different prison because he was harassing another prisoner, Moshe Katsav, the former President of Israel, who was serving a sentence for rape.

      • Avi_G.
        February 10, 2013, 8:24 am

        Just recently he was transferred to a different prison because he was harassing another prisoner, Moshe Katsav, the former President of Israel.

        Am I the only one who found that comical, for several reasons?

      • a blah chick
        February 10, 2013, 6:00 pm

        No, you are not. From what I understand Amir was upset with Katsev because he denied Yigal a pardon or something when he was president.

        The flies on the wall of the caferteria at their first meeting must have gotten an earful.

  7. jimmy
    February 9, 2013, 7:10 pm

    I dont understand why the Palestians even talk with the US gov…

    the US congress is israeli occupied territory…..plain and simple…

    the US lamestream media is israeli occupied territory…

    and on top of that the US gov does as much as anyone to try and keep arabs divided…

    my prediction is this will only get worst in the next five years…

    nothing will change cuz too few people care about…

    and the casual person sees Argo ..or thirty down one or what…and just the demonetization of the muslim world…

    and with knowing nothing turn around and support israel

    I applaud phil and crew for the attempt to get the word out…

    but nothing good will happen to the palestians via the US congress

    • Annie Robbins
      February 9, 2013, 7:29 pm

      jimmy, i fear i didn’t get my point across, which was that the IS/US agenda of causing fitna to screw with the reconciliation has led to a massive amount of arrests lately under the pretense of ‘terror attacks’ or ‘prevent conflict’.

      • jimmy
        February 9, 2013, 9:15 pm

        you can state it however you want AR…the fact of the matter is the US government is an accomplice in the displacement of the Pals….by israel…I suspect that the US congress has no problem whatsoever with israel taking whatever lands it can…with US aid…

        how many conflicts is the US involved in the ME today…

        killing thousands yearly…

        as Phil Giraldi has stated …the US has been israelified…

        America Adopts the Israel Paradigm

        link to original.antiwar.com

    • James Canning
      February 9, 2013, 7:33 pm

      jimmy – – Palestinian leaders need the US to avoid blocking full membership for Palestine in the UN. They need to talk to American leaders.

  8. anonymouscomments
    February 9, 2013, 7:41 pm

    and perhaps this was mentioned above, but we should (again) note that a guy at WINEP called for a false-flag to initiate war with iran.

    further, the only page i finished at this website is on (world wide) past false flags. it includes two of israel’s most notorious failed false flags, the lavon affair, and the USS liberty.
    link to 911dust.com

    regarding the USS liberty, anyone with a brain, who has reviewed the evidence and whistle-blowers, knows it was intentional (what we do not know is if key people in the USG approved it in advance). my uncle, who is a USAF colonel, when i asked him about it, said “that was an act of war.” ralph nader himself, minced no words about the cover-up of the USS liberty, which was spearheaded by join mccain’s father, and which john mccain has covered for including an endorsement of a book which whitewashed the attack.

  9. Darcha
    February 10, 2013, 4:09 am

    I lived in Miami around the time of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s entry into politics. The community that elected her—first to the state house, then to Congress—was bat-s**t crazy Hialeah: Omega 7 and Alpha 66 anti-Castro terrorists training in the Everglades and smuggling truckloads of coke into the States with Uncle Sam’s blessing [late 70’s and early 80’s]. I remember a Miami anti-Castro Cuban telling me once that any pictures of buildings purportedly built in Cuba after 1959 were actually Hollywood-style façades. (What is it about reality and zealots?) It’s now more than a generation later, and those young Cuban-Americans went for Obama, not Tea Party like their parents. While gerrymandering will probably keep Ileana her seat, her constituency is heading out the demographic door and they know it, making them shriek all the louder.

    Any of this sound familiar?

    • a blah chick
      February 10, 2013, 10:10 am

      And don’t forget that Florida provided a safe haven for anti-Castro terrorists including those that planted a bomb on a Cuban airliner and killed over 70 people.

      This means that Cuba can invade Florida for self-defense, right?

    • Cliff
      March 3, 2013, 9:44 pm

      sounds like tony montana would be a zionist lol

  10. jimmy
    February 10, 2013, 4:56 am

    as Led Zeppelin said….

    if it keeps on rainy

    The levee is going to break…..

  11. NickJOCW
    February 10, 2013, 6:54 am

    US foreign policy supports only what conforms to specific strategic and economic interests and resists anything that doesn’t. Someone, I forget who, talked of the need to destabilise in the interests of stability, meaning stability from a US foreign policy perspective. It may well be less that the US supports Israel in these areas than that Israel is serving US interests, much like the KSE and Bahrain. If one accepts that then the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee is simply doing its job. The passive acceptance of their leaders’ actions, what Martin Luther King called the ‘silence and indifference of the good people’, in this case ordinary Israelis, is in a way more despicable than the actions themselves since, as a quasi-democracy, they are in the best position to do something about it, bloodlessly.

  12. a blah chick
    February 10, 2013, 8:15 am

    “They were planning on carrying out kidnapping plots and had more than ten guns of various types.”

    Ten guns they had, TEN! Of various types! Some no doubt able to shoot little pellets out of one end! Well, I’m convinced, and that part where they were planning on kidnapping some poor Israeli soldier, that sent chills through me. We don’t need another sweet-faced innocent boy snatched from his equally innocent tank, though I would hope that the next one would put some of his high-falutin’ IDF training to the test.

    And that letter, this is it people, the smoking gun! This proves those Arabs are no partners for peace. There’s no one to talk to! Still, I detect through the intertube ethers that some of you might be disputing its authenticity, well, I believe it! It’s written in arabic, isn’t it, in blue ink no less! That shows their depravity! How fortunate for the Sons of Light to have found it at the scene of the crime, right after yet ANOTHER attack on innocent Israeli soldiers.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 10, 2013, 9:40 am

      I detect through the intertube ethers that some of you might be disputing its authenticity

      i thought no one even notice the letter. curious what you thought of that arabic translation.

      Ten guns they had, TEN! Of various types!

      they had photos of them on the iof blog. reminded me of the knives photo from the mavi marmara.

      I’m convinced, and that part where they were planning on kidnapping some poor Israeli soldier, that sent chills through me.

      reminded me of the reason they broke the ceasefire w/gaza nov 6 ’08. to prevent a kidnapping. of course,no evidence was ever presented.

      and to think, it was only weeks before they started re-arresting prisoners from the gilad exchange, under the pretense of avoiding a 3rd intifada…or something, it’s hard keeping track of all their rationales. but that letter..now there’s some real evidence if i ever saw it, especially that translation. funny not one news report about it.

      i liked the the folding creases, very convincing.

      • a blah chick
        February 10, 2013, 10:25 am

        Ah, that letter, nice that the terr’ists themselves describe it as a “terror” atttack. Good to see that everyone is on board with the lingo.

        This was my favorite part:
        “The al-Aqsa Brigade is announcing the operation before its implementation.”

        Isn’t that sporting of them, they tell you ahead of time where they’re going to attack so you’ll be ready, cuz that’s how they roll.

        “If the operation has failed, it will be repeated additional times in a wider manner — every minute, every hour, every moment — starting today.”

        Those Arabs never keep their promises.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 10, 2013, 12:21 pm

        This was my favorite part:
        “The al-Aqsa Brigade is announcing the operation before its implementation.”

        mine too, my favorite part of the entire post actually. although “every minute, every hour, every moment — starting today.” comes in a close second.

        like a lil smoking gun. one just might imagine after decades of resistance the al-Aqsa Brigade wouldn’t be communicating like 8 year old boys playing cops and robbers.

      • W.Jones
        February 10, 2013, 2:11 pm

        The fact that they call it a terror attack in their letter makes it seem less authentic but more easier to use as a propaganda tool. “terror” is such a buzzword, and one which both sides apply to their enemies. It’s like if the Israelis’ orders were referring to their strikes as “targeting civilians.”

  13. casaananda
    February 10, 2013, 10:27 am

    That Ros-Lehtinen, to put it simply, is a pig.

  14. Kathleen
    February 10, 2013, 11:26 am

    Great post Annie. Asking a question “why the US congress is serving as a pipeline for Israeli military intelligence” A great question that has been asked for decades in petitions, home visits with Reps and in DC by some groups of Americans. Ros Lehtinen is one of the most staunch Israel supporters in congress. To the point where she betrays US national security and in many ways hurts Israel based on international boundaries… chances of survival. With the BDS movement growing. ONE STATE, ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE is quickly becoming the demand

  15. Kathleen
    February 10, 2013, 11:30 am

    Ros Lehtinen “the Palestinian Authority is corrupt”

  16. yourstruly
    February 10, 2013, 3:20 pm

    fatah-hamas reconciliation threatens peace prospects?

    their mutual hatred towards the democratic state of israel?

    not towards its apartheid affliction?

    justice for palestine?

    the cure?

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