Saturday, February 25, 2006

# Posted 3:47 PM by Patrick Belton  

OUR GOOD FRIEND LAILA EL-HADDAD has a feature on the chess game in Gaza at the moment between Hamas, Al Aqsa and Dahlan.

In other news, a Hamas spokesman said today his group would accept a 'long term, transitional solution' involving a truce on the Palestinian side and an Israeli withdrawal to 1967 boundaries; he gave no further details. My own friends close to the talks say that various formulas are being floated in search of acceptability both to Israel and to Hamas; acceptance, for instance, of UN security council resolutions, or the relevant sections of international law. Also, Khaled Abu Toameh is reporting that Salam Fayyad is 'seriously considering' an offer to join the Hamas-led cabinet. Qurei and some other Fateh leaders have indicated a possibility of their participation in government as well.

There is early talk of Zahar as foreign minister, but numerous names were floated for PM before the portfolio finally rested with Haniyeh. The Independent, for its part, reports Abu Mazen is threatening to resign if Hamas's position is not 'compatible with international policies,' but he is also calling for the west to give Hamas time to change rather than 'pushing it into a corner', and praising Haniyeh as 'flexible and diplomatic.' The WaPo interviews Haniyeh, quoting the prime minister in waiting as saying 'We do not wish to throw them into the sea.' He has also pledged to reduce his own salary, during Friday prayers in Khan Yunis. For its part, the EU is preparing a cash lifeline to prevent failure of the PA and Palestinian inability to pay the security services - whose loyalty to the new government, particularly in Gaza, will in the best of situations be in doubt. And in the first statesmanlike act yet from Washington, Assistant Secretary Welch said that US ngo-directed aid flows would continue, although it is unclear whether this will aid the security situation and maintenance of security-service paychecks.
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the palestinian government will heavily tax any funds and goods brought in by the NGOs thereby funding its own operations.


The gang that kidnapped, tortured and brutally murdered Ilan Halimi, 23, had threatened several prominent businessmen, lawyers and a well-known humanitarian activist, a French newspaper reported Saturday. The daily Liberation reported that the group behind the murder, which authorities have linked to anti-Semitism, tried to extort money from a founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders. Also targeted were the director of the Arte TV channel, a Paris lawyer and the head of a supermarket chain, the newspaper reported, citing police officials.

Police investigating the murder of Halimi earlier this month have made several arrests. The suspected gang leader, was arrested Wednesday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and France is seeking his extradition. Fourteen people have been placed under investigation - a step short of being charged - in the case, and two more people were detained Friday for questioning.

Ilan Halimi was abducted on January 21 after a woman came into the mobile phone store where he worked and charmed him into a dinner date. The first break in the case came after the police released an Identikit image of the woman suspected of "baiting" Halimi. After turning herself in our of fears that neighbors would identify her, the woman claimed that she was indeed asked to seduce a number of young men, but was unaware of the act's purpose. She identified the apartment where Halimi had been kept.

Halimi was found on February 13, tied to a tree, naked, wounded, handcuffed, gagged and covered with burn and cut marks on 80 percent of his body. Authorities found Halimi near railroad tracks in the Essonne region south of Paris a few days after the kidnappers ended contact with Halimmi's family. He died en route to a hospital.

"They acted with indescribable cruelty," the judiciary police chief leading the investigation said. "They kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut him and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight."

Halimi's family received a series of ransom demands - starting with one for nearly $537,000. Ilan Halimi's mother revealed to the Haaretz newspaper that the police told the family to ignore the gang's attempts to contact them for five critical days, after which Ilan was found near death outside the city. "Five days before Ilan was found, the police told us, 'Don't answer the phone, don't repond to text messages.' We saw dozens of calls and ignored them. On Thursday they found Ilan dead."

"We think there is anti-Semitism in this affair," Rafi Halimi, Ilan's uncle, told the press.

"First, because the killers tried to kidnap at least two other Jews, and second, because of what they said on the phone," Rafi Halimi added. "When we said we didn't have 500,000 euros to give them they told us to go to the synagogue and get it," Rafi said. "They also recited verses from the Koran."

Under questioning by investigators, one of the suspects "made it clear that he had attacked Ilan Halimi 'because he was Jewish, and Jews are rich".

"If Ilan hadn't been Jewish, he wouldn't have been murdered," Ilan's mom said. She accuses the police of ignoring the anti-Semitic motivation in the case in order not to alienate Muslims, Haaretz reported.

According to a recent article on this subject by Caroline Glick, she states, "It appears that Ilan Halimi's murderers had some connection to Hamas. Tuesday, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said that police found propaganda published by the Palestinian Charity Committee or the CBSP at the home of one of the suspects. The European Jewish Press reported this week that Israel has alleged that the organization is a front group for Palestinian terrorists and that in August 2003 the US government froze the organization's US bank accounts, accusing it of links with Hamas."

It is clear that the French authorities remain callous and indifferent when it comes to Jews being murdered on their soil or anywhere else. This attitude was evidenced in their initial denial that anti-Semitism played a role in this murder and their expressed policy of ignoring any evidence of anti-Semitism.

This may be the first act of Hamas terrorism directed against a Jew outside of Israel, but clearly it won't be the last. Everyday, we are being saturated with the anti-Semitic diatribes of an Iranian President named Ahmadnajed, of Hamas leaders and leading intellectuals. We can no longer deny it. Anti-Semitism is in full swing. It can only get worse.
Hamas is continuing to try to get money and recognition for something less than Oslo.
"Haniyeh denies telling W. Post Hamas would recognize Israel

By Haaretz Correspondent and Agencies, By Arnon Regular

Ismail Haniyeh, who is expected to head the Palestinian Authority's new Hamas-led government, yesterday denied having told The Washington Post that Hamas would recognize Israel if Israel met certain conditions.

In an interview published yesterday, the Post quoted Haniyeh as saying that Hamas would recognize Israel if Israel agreed to "recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, release the prisoners and recognize the rights of the refugees to return to Israel."

But at a press conference with Palestinian media in Gaza yesterday, Haniyeh said that he never discussed the question of recognizing Israel in the interview; he said only that if Israel fulfilled those three conditions, Hamas would consent to a long-term truce with it.
So now it's "statesmanlike" to allow money to a pack of ravening wolves who have stated publicly that they wish to feed on the bodies of their neighbors so they can go to Paradise?? "Craven" might be a better adjective, but of course this isn't the first such act by the "statesmen" in Washington.
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