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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Obama Succumbs to Bibi; Paving the Way in Blood

by Sami Jamil Jadallah
Source: Veterans Today

It seems President Obama agrees with Bibi Netanyahu and both see the price for an invitation to the White House must be paved with the innocent blood of Jews and Arabs. I guess this is the price Israelis and Gazans have to pay so that both men can mend fences. Surrounded by so many “Israel First” in the White House, National Security, State and UN no wonder Obama’s White House gave Israel (according to Israeli ambassador to Washington), the GREEN light to assassinate and escalate the war on Gaza including targeting civilians.

To Israeli leaders from the left or the right or the middle, facing elections, spilled blood of both Israelis and Arabs is a necessity election material, and it energizes the election and Israeli voters, of course the more Arab blood is spilled the better and the more votes. Simply there are no “peace” candidates only war candidates in Israel.

I also guess the same is true of the American Jewish leadership and to a great extent to the American Jewish “community”. The more blood is spelled, both Israeli/Jewish and Palestinian/Arab the more the community is energize to go out and raise money.

When the innocent blood in Palestine/Israel flow the money flows from Boston, to Brooklyn, to Cleveland, to Chicago, to St. Lewis, to Bethesda all the way to Los Angeles and Hollywood. Peace for Israel and for the Palestinians could never and will never energize the American Jewish leadership and community, spelled blood always does.

So it is not so surprising to see the American Jewish community and leadership with very very minor exception line up behind Israel, right or wrong as it wages its relentless attack on the innocent people of Gaza. To this leadership and community, all Israelis are victims and innocent and all Palestinians are guilty and deserve to die. Simply there are no civilians in Gaza, only an enclave of some 1.5 million terrorists who deserve to get killed, murdered in retail or wholesale.

Not so sure when this “community” and the mainstream media can see and face the truth that there are two sides to every story and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an exception to the rule. It is always the same thing and the same justifications. Israel has the right to defend itself. Israel has the right to attack and attack both militias and civilians. Israel has the right to initiate and engage all the means possible including air force, tanks, artillery, navy, and drones. Of course Palestinians under siege in Gaza, have no rights whatsoever to do any thing, no right to retaliate, no right to defend the civilian population, no right to resist the Jewish Occupation.

What is more disgusting is the fact that this “community” and the main stream media never bothered to even question or realize that Israel never ended its occupation of Gaza. Israel continues to place Gaza under siege, continues to shut down border crossings, continue to prevent supplies and fuels to come to Gaza, continues to enforce sea blockade, continue to calculate “calories” so that the people of Gaza do not look like the Jews in Concentration Camps. In fact Israel control the land, air and sea of Gaza. No one question perhaps dares to question why Israel simply refuses to reach a deal ending the siege and reach ends its occupation.

I am sure radio and TV hosts are not so stupid but for sure cowards when failing to raise tough and follow up questions to Israeli spokesperson as if given transcript and are not allowed deviating from it. No one is allowed to use their brains, or journalistic in question, simply they become battery-operated journalists. No one so far asked Israeli spokesperson follow up questions, such as the case why did Israel decides to assassinate Hamas Jabari now, certainly inviting Hamas militia to retaliate, and why did Bibi did not allow a pending deal to go through.

It seems every one in main stream media from the New York Times to Washington Post to CNN, BBC and Fox News all simply accept and dare not question Israel’s decision of waging frequent and constant war on Gaza. No one dare to ask the question if Israel has a right to retaliate does Hamas have the same right and if Israel target civilians can Hamas do the same? With the millions of dollars in salaries, mainstream media could not muster one “coward” to challenge the lies of Mark Regev, the Australian Jews who is Bibi Netanyahu propagandists. The Eveready battery keeps going, and going.

I like to leave you with some of the statements issued by main stream Jewish group in the US to determine for your self what is wrong with this “community” and why the silence and why they dare not speak out and say to Israel enough is enough?

http://jhaines6.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/obama-succumbs-to-bibi-paving-the-way-in-blood/

 

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Jewish British Lawmaker Likens Israel to Nazis

SIR Gerald Kaufman, yesterday (Thu 15 Jan 2009) compared the actions of Israeli troops in Gaza to the Nazis who forced his family to flee Poland. Kaufman, a member of the Jewish Labour movement linked to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s ruling party, also called for an arms embargo against Israel

Video and Text

 

Sir Gerald, who was brought up as an orthodox Jew and Zionist, said: “My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town a German soldier shot her dead in her bed.

“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”

He said the claim that many of the Palestinian victims were militants “was the reply of the Nazi” and added: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”

He accused the Israeli government of seeking “conquest” and added: ”

They are not simply war criminals, they are fools.”

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21781.htm

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Netanyahu Leading Israel to Avoidable, but Obvious Defeat

Why is the Israeli government purposefully falling on its sword?

Israel exists in a perpetual “besieged” mentality. The Israeli people have been conditioned to view themselves as an island amidst a violent sea. However, the constant belligerent posture of their government in fact drives the winds that churn that sea, and as the face of modern warfare shifts, and the more they use their armor and air power against their perceived enemies, the higher the waves become.

Video: Dr. Webster Tarpley explains the reckless untenable nature of Israel’s current foreign policy, and the need for an immediate ceasefire to be reached – both for the sake of preserving innocent life in Palestine, and for the very survival and stability of Israel. 

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Historian and geopolitical expert Dr. Webster Tarpley noted in a recent PressTV interview that the paradigm has shifted in terms of modern warfare, and that tactics involving armor and air superiority cannot guarantee Israel its defense any longer. Operations such as the abortive invasion of southern Lebanon in 2006, the brutal but ultimately unsuccessful “Operation Cast Lead” in late 2008-early 2009, and now this most recent conflict in Gaza, show that while Israel still possesses an immense capacity to inflict suffering and death in a tactical dimension, it has become all but impotent at achieving any meaningful strategic objectives.

The leadership in Israel must surely understand this, and that the more overtly belligerent they become, the more they endanger the state of Israel and its people. Then why, one must ask, do they continue on an obviously self-destructive path?

The answer is simple – while the people of Israel have an invested interest in their own self-preservation, their leadership, though they play the role well of Israel’s defenders, do not.

Israel’s compromised corporate-financier driven leadership seems to be positioning the nation for a significant fall, to what degree is still not clear. It could range from a catastrophic defeat, to another humiliating ceasefire after an exercise in impotent, self-incriminating brutality. The purpose of this appears to be to grant their regional partners, mainly the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the necessary clout, legitimacy and unity needed to carry out the next stage of reordering the Middle East.

With a decisive defeat of Israel by what the Washington Post calls “a changed Middle East,” the Saudi-Qatari-Egyptian axis, a united front of sectarian-hardliners long-sought by Wall Street and London to fight its regional enemies, will be prepared to confront Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon – to accomplish what the US and Israel have themselves already tried but failed to achieve.

The Washington Post, easily recognized as a “right-wing” Neo-Conservative clearinghouse, and proponent of Israel, almost seemed to celebrate the united front lining up behind Hamas in Gaza, against Israel. In their article, “Hamas finds greater support in a changed Middle East,” they state:

“Fenced in by an Israeli blockade and by the tacit consent of authoritarian Arab regimes that disdained Hamas’s Islamist politics, the group long relied on two international pariahs — Iran and Syria — for support.

But the outbreak of a revolt in Syria shattered ties between Hamas and the government of President Bashar al-Assad and forced a rift between Hamas and Shiite Iran. Hamas has since repositioned itself, gaining a new set of regional partners at a critical time.

Newly democratic Egypt and Tunisia, along with regionally influential Qatar and Turkey, have increasingly assumed the roles of Hamas’s new allies.”

It must be remembered, however, who was behind the creation of the “newly democratic Egypt and Tunisia,” and who is currently partnered with Qatar and Turkey in various regional objectives, not the least of which is the subversion and destruction of Syria.

Hamas’ New Friends – Israel’s Semi-Covert Allies 

The 2011 “Arab Spring” was far from the spontaneous uprising it was portrayed as being. While the US government feigned surprise, it had been quietly preparing bothhardliners and “pro-democracy” protesters years in advance – at least as early as 2007.

The newly elected Tunisian president’s first order of business was in fact to toe the line of US foreign policy, and withdraw recognition of the Syrian government. This was not surprising, considering President Moncef Marzouki had spent years coddled by the West in Paris, France, his NGO funded by the US government. Marzouki’s organization, the Tunisian League for Human Rights, was a US National Endowment for Democracy and George Soros Open Society-funded International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)member.

The government of Egypt, likewise, had been the creation of Western meddling. Muslim Brotherhood mobs had augmented crowds led by the more presentable Mohammed ElBaradei, a long time functionary of US foreign policy. Eventually, ElBaradei was exposed as a Western proxy, and made way for the accession to power of the Muslim Brotherhood. While the Brotherhood postures as both anti-Israeli and anti-American, it is in fact, on record, funded by the United States and Israel, with money and even weapons laundered through Saudi Arabia, and now Qatar, and then sent to its various regional branches.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker, published in 2007 a report titled, “The Redirection,” based on US, Saudi, and Lebanese representatives, exposing US, Israeli, and Saudi backing of sectarian extremists tied to Al Qaeda, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood itself.

Hersh reports that a supporter of the Lebanese Hariri faction had met Dick Cheney in Washington and relayed personally the importance of using the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria in any move against the ruling government:

“[Walid] Jumblatt then told me that he had met with Vice-President Cheney in Washington last fall to discuss, among other issues, the possibility of undermining Assad. He and his colleagues advised Cheney that, if the United States does try to move against Syria, members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would be “the ones to talk to,” Jumblatt said.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)

The article would continue by explaining how already in 2007 US and Saudi backing had begun benefiting the Brotherhood:

“There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)

It was warned that such backing would benefit the Brotherhood as a whole, not just in Syria, and could effect public opinion even as far as in Egypt where a long battle against the hardliners was fought in order to keep Egyptian governance secular.
Clearly this “new Middle East” the Washington Post describes as lining up behind Hamas, and against Israel, is a monster of Western policy’s own purposeful creation. It seems as if Henry Kissinger may have had something much more specific in mind when he stated, “In 10 years, there will be no more Israel.”

While it may seem unfathomable that the corporate-financier interests of Wall Street and London would jeopardize the safety, security, and even existence of Israel – a long time beachhead for Western geopolitical interests across the Middle East – this is only because people severely overestimate the importance placed on Israel by the corporate-financier elite.

Image: (Wikipedia) The Destruction of Jerusalem, 70 AD by the Roman Empire. The price Israelis will pay for enterprising with empire today will be no different than it was 2,000 years ago. Perpetual belligerence didn’t save them then, and it will not save them now. 

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To the West’s corporate-financiers, Israel is another plot of land – its people another demographic to be targeted, manipulated, and exploited, its resources to be expended, its role and existence to be assessed and reassessed based on utility. Like the Roman Empire nearly 2,000 years ago, when Israel outlives its usefulness as a proxy, it will be overrun, looted, destroyed, and its people scattered to the four corners of the globe, if and when necessary. As has been stated many times before, the greatest existential threat to Israel as a state, and to its people, is their own compromised ruling government. In reality, the Israeli people and their perceived mortal enemies share a common foe – who has pitted them both purposefully against each other for over a generation.

Netanyahu’s over-the-top, cartoonish warmongering, the IDF’s purposeful provocations, and a continuous campaign of self-vilification seems designed to make what appears to be an engineered fall all the more satisfying and uniting for the “new Middle East” Wall Street and London (with the ruling Israeli government’s help) has assembled over the past 2 years. For the Israeli people, stepping back seems impossible – but continuing forward is almost certainly suicidal.

The Israelis have the military might, the political sway, and the economic means to prevail against any true enemy. Rooting out warmongers like Netanyahu will not leave the nation defenseless, but better footed to explore other paths toward regional co-existence, peace, and prosperity. It will not be easy, but no more difficult than fighting perpetual war.

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Israel and Gaza: Then and Now

 

Four years ago on Nov. 4, while Americans were going to the polls to elect a new president, Israeli infantry, tanks and bulldozers entered the Gaza Strip to dismantle an extensive tunnel network used by Hamas to smuggle in weapons. An already tenuous truce mediated by the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak had been broken. Hamas responded with a barrage of mortar and rocket fire lasting several weeks, and on Dec. 27, 2008, Israel began Operation Cast Lead. The military campaign began with seven days of heavy air strikes on Gaza, followed by a 15-day ground incursion. By the end of the campaign, nearly 1,000 poorly guided shorter-range rockets and mortar shells hit southern Israel, reaching as far as Beersheba and Yavne. Several senior Hamas commanders and hundreds of militants were killed in the fighting. Israel Defense Forces figures showed that 10 IDF soldiers died (four from friendly fire), three Israeli civilians died from Palestinian rocket fire and 1,166 Palestinians were killed — 709 of them combatants.
The strategic environment during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead was vastly different from the one Israel faces in today’s Operation Pillar of Defense. To understand the evolution in regional dynamics, we must return to 2006, the year that would set the conditions for both military campaigns.

Setting the Stage

2006 began with Hamas winning a sweeping electoral victory over its ideological rival, Fatah. Representing the secular and more pragmatic strand of Palestinian politics, Fatah had already been languishing in Gaza under the weight of its own corruption and its lackluster performance in seemingly fruitless negotiations with Israel. The political rise of Hamas led to months of civil war between the two Palestinian factions, and on June 14, Hamas forcibly took control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah. Just 11 days later, Hamas kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalt and killed two others, prompting a new round of hostilities with Israel.

In what appeared to be a coordinated move, Hezbollah on July 12 launched its own raid on Israel’s northern front and kidnapped two additional soldiers, kicking off the month-long Second Lebanon War. As Israel discovered, Hezbollah was well-prepared for the conflict, relying on an extensive tunneling system to preserve its launching crews and weaponry. Hezbollah made use of anti-tank guided missiles, improvised explosive devices that caught Israel Defense Forces by surprise and blunted the ground offensive, and medium-range rockets capable of reaching Haifa. Hezbollah incurred a heavy toll for the fight, with much of the infrastructure in southern Lebanon devastated and roughly 1,300 Lebanese civilian casualties threatening to erode its popular support. Casualty numbers aside, Hezbollah emerged from the 2006 conflict with a symbolic victory. Since 1973, no other Arab army, much less a militant organization, had been able to fight as effectively to challenge Israel’s military superiority. Israel’s inability to claim victory translated as a Hezbollah victory. That perception reverberated throughout the region. It cast doubts on Israel’s ability to respond to much bigger strategic threats, considering it could be so confounded by a non-state militant actor close to home.

At that time, Hamas was contending with numerous challenges; its coup in Gaza had earned the group severe political and economic isolation, and the group’s appeals to open Gaza’s border, and for neighbors to recognize Hamas as a legitimate political actor, went mostly unheeded. However, Hamas did take careful note of Hezbollah’s example. Here was a militant organization that had burnished its resistance credentials against Israel, could maintain strong popular support among its constituents and had made its way into Lebanon’s political mainstream.

Hezbollah benefited from a strong patron in Iran. Hamas, on the other hand, enjoyed no such support. Mubarak’s Egypt, Bashar al Assad’s Syria, Jordan under the Hashemites and the Gulf monarchies under the influence of the House of Saud all shared a deep interest in keeping Hamas boxed in. Although publically these countries showed support for the Palestinians and condemned Israel, they tended to view Palestinian refugees and more radical groups such as Hamas as a threat to the stability of their regimes.

While Hamas began questioning the benefits of its political experiment, Iran saw an opportunity to foster a militant proxy. Tehran saw an increasingly strained relationship between Saudi Arabia and Hamas, and it took advantage to increase funding and weapons supplies to the group. Forces from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, along with Hezbollah, worked with Hamas to expand the group’s weapons arsenal and build elaborate tunnels under the Gaza Strip to facilitate its operations. Israel soon began to notice and took action toward the end of 2008.

Operation Cast Lead

Hamas was operating in a difficult strategic environment during Operation Cast Lead. Hezbollah had the benefit of using the rural terrain south of the Litani River to launch rockets against Israel during the Second Lebanon War, thereby sparing Lebanon’s most densely populated cities from retaliatory attacks. Hamas, on the other hand, must work in a tightly constricted geographic space and therefore uses the Palestinian population as cover for its rocket launches. The threat of losing popular support is therefore much higher for Hamas in Gaza than it is for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. At the same time, operating in a built-up urban environment also poses a considerable challenge for the Israeli military.

During Operation Cast Lead, Cairo did little to hide its true feelings toward Hamas. Though Egypt played a critical role in the cease-fire negotiations, it was prepared to incur the domestic political cost of cracking down on the Rafah border crossing to prevent refugees from flowing into Sinai and to prevent Hamas from replenishing its weapons supply. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, then in the opposition, took advantage of the situation to publicly rally against the Mubarak regime, but its protests did little to change the situation. Hamas was boxed in by Egypt and Israel.

The rest of the region largely avoided direct involvement. Turkey was focused on internal affairs, and Saudi Arabia remained largely aloof. Jordan’s Hashemite rulers could afford to continue quietly cooperating with Israel without facing backlash. The United States, emerging from an election, was focused on shaping an exit strategy from Iraq. Many of Hamas’ traditional wealthy Gulf donors grew wary of attracting the focus of Western security and intelligence agencies as fund transfers from the Gulf came under closer scrutiny.

Iran was the exception. While the Arab regimes ostracized Hamas, Iran worked to sustain the group in its fight. Tehran’s reasoning was clear and related to Iran’s emergence as a regional power. Iraq had already fallen into Iran’s sphere of influence (though the United States was not yet prepared to admit it), Hezbollah was rebuilding in southern Lebanon, and Iranian influence continued to spread in western Afghanistan. Building up a stronger militant proxy network in the Palestinian territories was the logical next step in Tehran’s effort to keep a check on Israeli threats to strike the Iranian nuclear program.

In early January 2009, in the midst of Operation Cast Lead, Israel learned that Iran was allegedly planning to deliver 120 tons of arms and explosives to Gaza, including anti-tank guided missiles and Iranian-made Fajr-3 rockets with a 40-kilometer (25-mile) range and 45-kilogram (99-pound) warhead. The Iranian shipment arrived at Port Sudan, and the Israeli air force then bombed a large convoy of 23 trucks traveling across Egypt’s southern border up into Sinai. Though Israel interdicted this weapons shipment — likely with Egyptian complicity — Iran did not give up its attempts to supply Hamas with advanced weaponry. The long-range Fajr rocket attacks targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in the current conflict are a testament to Iran’s continued effort.

The Current Geopolitical Environment

Hamas and Israel now find themselves in a greatly altered geopolitical climate. On every one of its borders, Israel faces a growing set of vulnerabilities that would have been hard to envision at the time of Operation Cast Lead.

The most important shift has taken place in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood carefully used the momentum provided by the Arab Spring to shed its opposition status and take political control of the state. Hamas, which grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, then faced an important decision. With an ideological ally in Cairo, Egypt no longer presents as high a hurdle to Hamas’ political ambitions. Indeed, Hamas could even try to use its ties to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to achieve political legitimacy. When unrest spread into Syria and began to threaten Iran’s position in the Levant, Hamas made a strategic decision to move away from the Iran-Syria axis, now on the decline, and to latch itself onto the new apparent regional trend: the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist affiliates across the Arab world.

This rise of the Muslim Brotherhood spread from Egypt to Syria to Jordan, presenting Israel with a new set of challenges on its borders. Egypt’s dire economic situation, the political unrest in its cities, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s uneasy relationship with the military and security apparatus led to a rapid deterioration in security in Sinai. Moreover, a Muslim Brotherhood government in Cairo on friendly terms with Hamas could not be trusted to crack down on the Gaza border and interdict major weapons shipments. A political machine such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which derives its power from the street, will be far more sensitive to pro-Palestinian sentiment than will a police state that can rule through intimidation.

In Syria, Israel has lost a predictable adversary to its north. The balkanization of the Levant is giving rise to an array of Islamist forces, and Israel can no longer rely on the regime in Damascus to keep Hezbollah in check for its own interests. In trying to sustain its position in Syria and Lebanon, Iran has increased the number of its operatives in the region, bringing Tehran that much closer to Israel as both continue to posture over a potential strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.

To Israel’s east, across the Jordan River valley, pressure is also growing on the Hashemite kingdom. An emboldened Muslim Brotherhood has been joined by disillusioned tribes from the East Bank in openly calling for the downfall of the king. High energy costs are severely blunting the kingdom’s ability to contain these protests through subsidies, and the growing crisis in Gaza threatens to spread instability in the West Bank and invigorate Palestinians across the river in Jordan.

Beyond its immediate periphery, Israel is struggling to find parties interested in its cause. The Europeans remain hostile to anything they deem to be excessive Israeli retaliation against the Palestinians. Furthermore, they are far too consumed by the fragmentation of the European Union to get involved with what is happening in the southern Levant.

The United States remains diplomatically involved in trying to reach a cease-fire, but as it has made clear throughout the Syrian crisis, Washington does not intend to get dragged into every conflagration in the Middle East. Instead, the United States is far more interested in having regional players like Egypt and Turkey manage the burden. The United States can pressure Egypt by threatening to withhold financial and military aid. In the case of Turkey, there appears to be little that Ankara can do to mediate the conflict. Turkish-Israeli relations have been severely strained since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. Moreover, although the Turkish government is trying to edge its way into the cease-fire negotiations to demonstrate its leadership prowess to the region, Ankara is as wary of appearing too close to a radical Islamist group like Hamas as it is of appearing in the Islamic world as too conciliatory to Israel.

Saudi Arabia was already uncomfortable with backing more radical Palestinian strands, but Riyadh now faces a more critical threat — the regional rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Islamist political activism poses a direct threat to the foundation of the monarchy, which has steadfastly kept the religious establishment out of the political domain. Saudi Arabia has little interest in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood encouraging Hamas’ political rise, and Riyadh will thus become even more alienated from the Palestinian theater. Meanwhile Gulf state Qatar, which has much less to lose, is proffering large amounts of financial aid in a bid to increase its influence in the Palestinian territories.

Iran, meanwhile, is working feverishly to stem the decline of its regional influence. At the time of Operation Cast Lead, Iran was steadily expanding its sphere of influence, from western Afghanistan to the Mediterranean. A subsequent U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf and an intensifying U.S.-led economic warfare campaign slowed Iran down, but it was the decline of the al Assad regime that put Iran on the defensive. An emboldened Sunni opposition in Syria, backed by the West, Turkey and the Arab Gulf states, could spill into Lebanon to threaten Hezbollah’s position and eventually threaten Iran’s position in Iraq. With each faction looking to protect itself, Iran can no longer rely as heavily on militant proxies in the Levant, especially Palestinian groups that see an alignment with Iran as a liability in the face of a Sunni rebellion. But Iran is also not without options in trying to maintain a Palestinian lever against Israel.

Hamas would not be able to strike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with long-range rockets had it not been for Iran, which supplied these rockets through Sudan and trained Palestinian operatives on how to assemble them in Gaza. Even if Hamas uses up its arsenal of Fajr-5s in the current conflict and takes a heavy beating in the process, Iran has succeeded in creating a major regional distraction to tie down Israel and draw attention away from the Syrian rebellion. Iran supplied Hezbollah with Zelzal rockets capable of reaching Haifa during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Hamas was limited to shorter-range Qassam and Grad rockets in Operation Cast Lead but now has Iranian-made Fajr-5s to target Israel’s most cherished cities.

Hamas is now carrying the mantle of resistance from Hezbollah in hopes of achieving a symbolic victory that does not end up devastating the group in Gaza. Israel’s only hope to deny Hamas that victory is to eliminate Hamas’ arsenal of these rockets, all the while knowing that Iran will likely continue to rely on Egypt’s leniency on the border to smuggle more parts and weaponry into Gaza in the future. The Hamas rocket dilemma is just one example of the types of problems Israel will face in the coming years. The more vulnerable Israel becomes, the more prone it will be to pre-emptive action against its neighbors as it tries to pick the time and place of battle. In this complex strategic environment, Operation Pillar of Defense may be one of many similar military campaigns as Israel struggles to adjust to this new geopolitical reality.

 

 

Setting the Sta

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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A decisive conclusion is necessary By GILAD SHARON

There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.

Palestinians at a home destroyed in IAF strikePHOTO: REUTERS/AHMED JADALLAH

Anyone who thinks Hamas is going to beg for a cease-fire, that Operation Pillar of Defense will draw to a close and quiet will reign in the South because we hit targets in the Gaza Strip, needs to think again.

With the elimination of a murderous terrorist and the destruction of Hamas’s long-range missile stockpile, the operation was off to an auspicious start, but what now? This must not be allowed to end as did Operation Cast Lead: We bomb them, they fire missiles at us, and then a cease-fire, followed by “showers” – namely sporadic missile fire and isolated incidents along the fence. Life under such a rain of death is no life at all, and we cannot allow ourselves to become resigned to it.

A strong opening isn’t enough, you also have to know how to finish – and finish decisively. If it isn’t clear whether the ball crossed the goal-line or not, the goal isn’t decisive. The ball needs to hit the net, visible to all. What does a decisive victory sound like? A Tarzan-like cry that lets the entire jungle know in no uncertain terms just who won, and just who was defeated.

To accomplish this, you need to achieve what the other side can’t bear, can’t live with, and our initial bombing campaign isn’t it.

THE DESIRE to prevent harm to innocent civilians in Gaza will ultimately lead to harming the truly innocent: the residents of southern Israel. The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences.

The Gaza Strip functions as a state – it has a government and conducts foreign relations, there are schools, medical facilities, there are armed forces and all the other trappings of statehood. We have no territorial conflict with “Gaza State,” and it is not under Israeli siege – it shares a border with Egypt. Despite this, it fires on our citizens without restraint.

Why do our citizens have to live with rocket fire from Gaza while we fight with our hands tied? Why are the citizens of Gaza immune? If the Syrians were to open fire on our towns, would we not attack Damascus? If the Cubans were to fire at Miami, wouldn’t Havana suffer the consequences? That’s what’s called “deterrence” – if you shoot at me, I’ll shoot at you. There is no justification for the State of Gaza being able to shoot at our towns with impunity. We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.
Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.

IF THE government isn’t prepared to go all the way on this, it will mean reoccupying the entire Gaza Strip. Not a few neighborhoods in the suburbs, as with Cast Lead, but the entire Strip, like in Defensive Shield, so that rockets can no longer be fired.

There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip. Otherwise there will be no decisive victory. And we’re running out of time – we must achieve victory quickly. The Netanyahu government is on a short international leash. Soon the pressure will start – and a million civilians can’t live under fire for long. This needs to end quickly – with a bang, not a whimper.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Hamas in the New Middle East

“I salute all people of the Arab Spring, or Islamic winter, and I salute the Syrian people who seek freedom, democracy and reform.” Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya issued this declaration before a crowd at the Al Azhar Mosque in Cairo on February 24, 2012.

In 2011, Hamas withdrew its political headquarters from Syria and declinedBashar Al-Assad’s request to stage rallies in support of the Syrian regime at Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. Haniya’s statement simply confirmed that Hamas had officially broken ties with its longtime state sponsor in Damascus. The Arab Awakening ended the alliance that Hamas had formed with the Assad regime in the aftermath of the Palestinian group’s expulsion from Jordan in 1999.

The Syrian uprising placed Hamas in between a rock and a hard place. Even as Hamas sought to remain loyal to a regime that had provided economic aid and weapons during times of isolation, the group could not maintain an alliance with a regime that was brutally oppressing a Sunni-led opposition movement. Hamas’ final calculation that severing ties with Assad would best further its long-term objectives was driven by an assessment of the Syrian crisis, particularly with respect to Palestinian refugees in Syria and Palestinian public opinion. However, the rising wave of democratic and moderate Sunni Islamism throughout the region was perhaps Hamas’ greatest incentive to break ties with Syria and pursue alliances with Egypt, Turkey, and Qatar.

Hamas is betting that new geopolitical realities in the region may offer it an opportunity to escape isolation, gain recognition as the legitimate representative of the Palestinians in Gaza, spread its ideology, and cultivate ties with neighbors. Nonetheless, by breaking ties with Assad and cultivating ties with Tehran’s strategic competitors, Hamas is jeopardizing its relations with Iran as well.

Evolving Approach to Syria

From March until December 2011, Hamas attempted to maintain a relatively neutral stance on the Syrian crisis. The organization even attempted to mediate negotiations between the regime and the opposition. However, such efforts proved futile. The opposition leaders Hamas intended to meet were incarcerated, and Damascus rejected the initiative several days after it was proposed.According to the Washington Post, “Hamas officials still seemed eager to depict themselves as straddling two sides, insisting that their policy was neutral and in favor of the Syrian people, not against Assad.” Hamas’ website explicitly stated: “we hope the current circumstances are overcome in a way that fulfils the hopes and aspirations of the Syrian people and preserves Syria’s stability and internal cohesion.”

A painful lesson from the first Gulf War influenced Hamas’ initial reaction to the situation in Syria. When PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat supported Saddam Hussein during Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the Palestinian refugees in Kuwait suffered from their leader’s alliance with Baghdad. Two decades later, Hamas did not want the half-million Palestinian refugees in Syria to face the wrath of a regime that could target them for being associated with a disloyal benefactor.

However, as the Syrian death toll mounted, Assad became a liability for Hamas. As polls among Palestinians—and in the Arab world at large—indicated that support for Assad was plummeting, Hamas determined that it could not afford to be on the wrong side of history.

By December 2011, after months of divesting its assets from Syria, Hamas removed its staff from Damascus. This decision was driven, in no insignificant manner, by pressure from Ankara and Doha. One Hamas official who departed Damascus stated, “Qatar and Turkey urged us to leave Syria immediately. … They said ‘Have you no shame? It’s enough. You have to get out.'” The mixed emotions surrounding this departure were summarized by another Hamas official: “We have to go. But you have to understand that we have a sense of gratitude to this regime. They did a lot for us. And there are a lot of intimate relations, on a personal level. Politically, however, there is no reason to stay.”

Realignment

Unlike Hezbollah, which fears the rise of Syrian Sunni Islamists, the prospects of Syria becoming an Islamist state with a conservative Sunni identity do not alarm Hamas. And the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, the most powerful faction within the Syrian National Council, has traditionally supported Hamas. If the Ba’athist order collapses and the Syrian Brotherhood takes power in Damascus, Hamas (itself an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood) has reason to expect a flourishing relationship with post-Assad Syria.

Hamas is building relationships with other Sunni Islamist actors throughout the Middle East, the most prominent being Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-led civilian government. Although Cairo’s relationship with Hamas will be compromised by certain Egyptian national interests—including maintaining security in the Sinai, preserving relations with the United States and EU, and avoiding a military confrontation with Israel—Egyptian-Hamas ties have unquestionably turned a new page since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. With the Egyptian government agreeing to host Hamas’ political headquarters and taking steps to ease travel restrictions between Sinai and Gaza, Haniya’s optimism about the future of Egyptian-Hamas relations is well grounded. Moreover, Cairo’s role in the Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange deal of October 2011 indicates that Egypt’s leverage can potentially reduce Hamas’ international isolation.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshal joined Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi at the ruling Turkish party’s congress in Ankara on September 30, 2012. According to Turkish media, Meshal was the “most applauded foreign guest” in a conventional hall where the audience chanted “Damn Israel.” When Haniya visited Turkey in January 2012, he expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Recep Erdogan “for Turkey’s continuing support for the lifting of the Israeli embargo on Gaza.” During that same trip, an AKP official, Omer Celik, stated that “[i]f Israel is sincere about the peace process it should quit declaring organizations like Hamas that support the peace process illegal, and stop building settlements.” Beyond warm rhetoric, Turkey invested $40 million in a hospital at Hamas’ Islamic University in Gaza, where Turkish is now part of the curriculum.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani visited Gaza on October 23, 2012—marking the first visit of an Arab head of state since the imposition of Israel’s blockade on Gaza—to inaugurate Qatar’s $400-million investment in infrastructure in Gaza. Tony Karon, a senior editor for TIMEinterpreted the Emir’s visit as interconnected with Qatari interests in Syria, where his regime has played an aggressive role in militarizing the opposition. “Qatar’s mission, in part, has been to woo Hamas back into the Arab fold and wean it off support from Tehran — the Emir’s Gaza visit was widely interpreted as in part a reward for Hamas breaking ties with the Assad regime,” Karon wrote. Regardless of Qatar’s motives in Gaza, its support for Muslim Brotherhood factions from Syria to Tunisia is consistent with its support for the form of democratic Sunni Islamism that Hamas embodies. Furthermore, Qatar’s efforts to mediate past Fatah-Hamas disputes indicate Doha’s recognition of Hamas as a legitimate political entity.

The Gamble over Iran

Hamas and Iran’s opposing stakes in Syria have created tension between the two.In August 2011, Iran cut aid to Hamas by (USD) $300 million when it refused to defend Assad. Additionally, Hamas declared that it would not provide military support for the Islamic Republic in any Israeli-Iranian war. Whether this tension is temporary or will precipitate a divorce remains an open question.

Although both Hamas and Iran have deep interests in the Syrian crisis, the two have much to walk away from. For many years, Hamas has received more funding, weapons, and training from Tehran than any other capital. According to Ezzat al-Rashq, a Hamas political bureau member, Hamas would not be capable of paying its 45,000 staff members without Tehran’s financial support. Likewise, Hamas has provided the Islamic Republic a degree of leverage over Israel and prestige on the Arab Street as a defender of the Palestinian cause when most Arab governments have become non-confrontational actors in the Arab-Israel conflict.

Nevertheless, Hamas is gambling. Iran’s capacity to play spoiler could undermine Hamas’ power in Gaza. Tehran could deepen its ties with Hamas’ rivals (Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees, etc.), who have posed challenges for Hamas when it has sought to enforce ceasefires brokered with Israel. If at Iran’s urging, such groups in Gaza fire missiles at Israel, Hamas’ capacity to rule Gaza would certainly be undermined. Furthermore, if such attacks elicit an Israeli response, Hamas’ role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict could grow complicated as it attempts to serve as a resistance organization while gaining international legitimacy by enforcing ceasefires.

International Implications for Hamas

Syria has become the center of a Middle Eastern Cold War between Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Hamas’ leaders eventually accepted the reality that they could not please all the regional actors—nor embrace a position of neutrality—as the Iranian-backed regime in Damascus fights for its survival against armed rebels funded by the Gulf sheikdoms and Turkey. Hamas’ decision to sever ties with Damascus and support the Syrian opposition was a major strategic setback for Iran and a major victory for Assad’s regional enemies.

Despite the national interests advanced by various states vis-à-vis Hamas, the Palestinian organization is unquestionably pursuing its own agenda as the Arab Awakening unfolds. Hamas’ leaders have no doubt taken note of the success of moderate and democratic Islamist parties throughout the region. As the democratically elected political party that survived a failed U.S.-sponsored coupattempt in 2007, the Israeli-Egyptian blockade, and the Israeli war against Gaza in 2008-2009, it appears that various Arab states have begun to accept that Hamas is not on the verge of disappearance, despite the dreams of Washington and Tel Aviv.

Nonetheless, as the tension in Gaza escalates each day after the Israeli Air Force assassinated Ahmed al-Jabari—Hamas military commander who negotiated the cease-fire that held for the majority of the last year—the prospects for a greater Middle East war are growing. Unfortunately, it appears probable that Israel’s ongoing military strikes against Gaza are only shoring up Netanyahu’s right-wing base before the election next January.

However, the interests of Netanyahu’s political future and the long-term security of Israel do not always coincide. It would be in Israel’s interest to elect a leader who can accept the reality of Hamas’ growing international support and reject military force as a means of addressing it.

http://www.fpif.org/articles/hamas_in_the_new_middle_east

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Israel – Gaza: retrospectivă şi situaţia geopolitică

Vezi articolul anterior. Ultimele evenimente din regiunea respectiva starnesc vechi polemici legate de o problema cronica care nu poate fi rezolvata, cel putin nu in aceasta generatie si poate nici in cateva generatii viitoare. Alternativele au fost si sunt sumbre, singura actiune posibila este ceea ce anglo-saxonii numesc “containment” (in limba romana a fost tradus in politica de stăvilire, îngrădire sau  izolare). Termenul si doctrina s-au nascut in America in anii Razboiului Rece si presupuneau utilizarea numeroaselor strategii pentru a preveni extinderea comunismului în lume. In situatia de fata vorbim de politici care sa izoleze efectele locale, regionale si posibil mondiale pentru a produce o stabilitate din care se poate genera un proces de pacificare a regiunii. Proces lent, dar eficace, care sa conduca de la un armistitiu militar la o “pace rece”, asemanatoare cu cea care a existat intre Israel si Egiptul lui Mubarak.

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Ca de obicei, marile conflicte se nasc din lipsa de cunoastere si intelegere a mentalitatilor. Talibanii au existat in zona afgana mai mult de un secol, americanii au avut “grija” sa-i “militarizeze” la nivelul dusmanul, dusmanului meu = prietenul meu si sa creeze o forta militara cu care nu se mai poate negocia astazi. Israelienii sunt de fapt creatorii de facto ai Hamasului. Gaza a fost in anii ’60 inainte de ocuparea ei de israelieni, un fel de tarâm al surghiunitilor, in care membrii marcanti ai “Fratiei Musulmane”, perzecutati de Nasser,  si-au  gasit locul de refugiu. Dupa ocuparea Gazei de Israel in ’67 si inceputurile insurgentei palestiniene, inamicul principal a fost PLO, cu organizatia principala Fatah, sub conducerea lui Yasser Arafat. PLO a fost o organizatie laica, cu accente de stanga socialiste, asemanatoare Ba’atului sirian sau irakian. Israelienii au facut prostia pe care au facut-o si americanii, inca inaintea lor, si  au sustinut organizatiile fundamentaliste afiliate   “Fratilor Musulmani”.

Personajul cheie al acestei povesti a fost Şeicul Ahmed Yassin, care a intemeiat la inceput o miscare de ajutor social (Mujama al-Islamiya) si mai taziu a acumulat armament prin contrabanda si a format o fractiune paramilitara. Fiind arestat de israelieni (1984), el a reusit sa-i convinga pe acestia ca formatiunea paramilitara a fost indreptata impotriva formatiunii lui Y. Arafat.   Restul a devenit istorie. Inamicitia Hamas-ului este total impartita intre israelieni si Fatah, in parti aproape egale. In 2007, cu ajutorul unei insurectii armate, Hamasul reuseste sa invinga Fatahul in Gaza (aproape prin exterminarea fizica a liderilor, a ofiterilor si a demnitarilor Fatah  din Gaza) .

Astazi, hegemonia politico-militara din Gaza este de facto impartita intre doua fractiuni Hamas apropiate de “Fratii Musulmani” (deci o aliata a al-Qaida) si miscarea principala din Gaza si Jihadul Islamic, apropiati de Huzbbulah si implicit de Iran. Bineinteles lucrurile nu sunt intodeauna clare, dar la nivel macro, asta este situatia politica. Din punct de vedere militar, Hamasul si-a insusit modelul irlandez al Sinn Féin, facand o diferentiere intre organele politice si cele militare reprezentate de “Izz ad-Din al-Qassam”. “Brigazile al Quds” reprezinta Jihadul Islamic si mai exista o a treia  grupare armata care actioneaza in Gaza “Martirii Al-Aqsa” , fosta afiliata la Fatah, astazi in dizidenta fata de autoritatile de la Ramallah.

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Actualul conflict nu este exact strain de contextul regional si nici de conflictul in evolutie  dintre Iran si Israel si nici de situatia din Siria. In mai-iunie a.c,  mentionam intr-o nota geopolitica ca: ceea ce se intampla astazi in Siria, sunt evenimente care pot aduce avantaje Israelului in cazul in care Bashar al-Assad supravietuieste. In regiunea respectiva un inamic cunoscut este preferabil unuia pe care nu-l cunosti. Bineinteles ca scenariul are si inconvenientele lui, supravietuirea lui Bashar al-Assad ii poate aduce de facto pe iranieni la granita cu Israelul de la Marea Galileii si pana la Mediterana, avand in vedere ca sudul Libanului este in totalitate  sub controlul Hezbollah, militia şiita sub tutela iraniana. Caderea lui Bashar al-Assad poate complica situatia Israelului la fel de mult ca si un potential  regim islamist, asemanator celui  din Egipt. O perioada de tranzitie poate fi suficenta Israelului pentru a rezolva (intr-un fel sau altul) problemele pe care le are cu palestinienii din Gaza  si Hezbollah-ul din sudul Libanului. Probabil ca perioada aceasta de tranzitie s-a terminat sau este pe cale de terminare si lucrurile trebuiau reglate si puse la punct.

Declansarea confilictului este absolut legata de informatile pe care le detinea Israelul despre cantitatile relativ importante de rachete chino-iraniene de tip WS1E (Fajr), care pot ameninta orasele centrale ale Israelului si suburbiile lor (Gush Dan), la fel cum pot ameninta si Ierusalimul. Conflictul a inceput de fapt la 23 octombrie 2012  cu bombardarea uzinei de armament Yarmouk, în apropiere de Khartoum in Sudan, cand o escadrila de avioane israeliene a distrus sursa rachetelor Fajr, care erau fabricate si transportate prin Marea Rosie si Sinai in Gaza. Ceea ce a urmat vedem astazi si vom vedea inca cateva zile pana la un alt armistitiu care poate sa mentina linistea cateva saptamani, luni sau un an sau doi.

Fara indoiala ca la nivel tactic, Israelul isi va atinge toate obiectivele fixate. La nivel strategic, Israelul se afla intr-o situatie la fel de dificila ca cea care a existat in anii ’70 si inceputul anilor ’80 ai secolului XX. Dupa 58 de ani de dictaturi militare sau de regimuri civile conduse de militari, in alegeri libere, in cel mai transparent scrutin a fost ales un civil in fruntea statului Egiptean. Aceste alegeri transforma de facto “Primavara Araba” in “Primavara Islamica”. Din Maroc in vest si pana la  granitele Asiei in desertul Sinai, in est,  prin vointa  populatiei au fost instaurate regimuri de coloratura islamista – flamurile verzi ale islamului flutura pretutindeni in Orientul Mijlociu. Israel nu mai are parteneri in Orientul Mijlociu si nici aliati. Tratatul cu Egiptul  traieste probabil ultima perioada sub regimul “Fratiei Musulmane” si Turcia nu mai este nici pe departe aliatul Israelului in noua perioada neo-otomana sub conducerea lui Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In mare, prognoza geopolitica pe care am formulat-o  la sfarsitul lui februarie a.c. ramane neschimbata, cu unele noi provocari.

Probleme strategice: (a) Israelul nu poate duce razboaie de durata (uzura) pe termen lung, avand in vedere ca majoritatea rezervistilor isi intrerup activitatile civile si paralizeaza economia nationala; (b) Israelul nu are adancime strategica, retragerea sau purtarea unui razboi pe teritoriul propriu este imposibila; (c) toate razboaiele in care Israelul a avut intaietatea declansarii actiunilor militare s-au terminat rapid si fara multe victime, lucru care nu s-a intamplat cand Israelul a asteptat sa fie atacat; (d) Israelul nu-si poate permite pierderi umane la nivelul zecilor de mii;  (e) Israelul trebuie sa lupte, asa cum s-a intamplat in trecut pe mai multe fronturi, de asta data mult mai complicate, avand in vedere ca aceste fronturi implica populatia civila din Israel, Palestina si Liban.

Probleme geopolitice: (a) Administratia Obama este departe de a fi simpatetica Israelului. Un nou mandat [primit deja]  pentru Obama va insemna multa presiune asupra Israelului; (b) actualul regim [american]  a destabilizat Orientul Mijlociu, punand sub semn de intrebare Tratatele de Pace  (de fact pacturi de neagresiune) intre tarile arabe si Israel;  (c) Israelul nu se bucura de sprijin diplomatic de la nici o putere din lume, singurii fiind pana astazi numai americanii; (d) dupa “Primavara Araba”, Orientul Mijlociu arata mult mai dificil pentru Israel si mult mai extremist decat a fost in 2010; (e) o initiativa militara fara  concursul Satatelor Unite in an electoral in SUA nu va fi privita cu simpatie si nici acceptata la Washington.

Din nefericire, trebuie sa termin cu concluziile OXAN (Oxford Analytica ) din 2011 pentru anul 2012, care ar putea sa fie adevarate – Izolarea Israelului prin anularea tratatelor de pace cu Egiptul si Iordania ar putea produce un efect asemanator cu cel care a declansat Razboiul din 1967 (Six Day War), cu reocuparea teritoriilor aflate astazi sub posesia palestinenilor si cu un razboi generalizat cu toate statele din vecinatate, care ar putea iesi din granitele conflictelor conventionale.

http://www.contributors.ro/administratie/orientul-mijlociu/israel-%E2%80%93-gaza-retrospectiva-si-situatia-geopolitica/

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Uncategorized