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No Parallel Btw Israel and Hamas
By Micah Halpern

Saturday July 1, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Israel is aggressively seeking to free the Israeli citizens - military and civilian - who have been kidnapped by Hamas and their affiliates.
Hamas is aggressively attempting to harm as many innocent Israelis as they can.

Israel, Israeli leadership and the Israeli Defense Forces have a standard to uphold - Israel does not want to harm civilians, even accidentally.
Witness the Fox News correspondent, Mike Tobin, wandering freely around the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanoun as it is being bombed.
In response to a question about his safety the correspondent answers that bombings are a common occurrence and the Israelis are surprisingly accurate which explains why there are still Palestinians on the streets.

Israel has a dual objective and it is a nearly impossible balance to strike.
Objective # 1: to apply pressure on Hamas leadership and Hamas terrorists
Objective # 2: to avoid unduly hurting the Palestinian masses
Israel is searching for arresting and targeting - the politicians that have been arrested are all being charged with terrorist activities. Hitting the electric supply forces the terrorists to leave their hideouts and seek alternative sources - like their cars - from which to charge their all important cell phones, their communication source and link to the outside.

Palestinian terrorists are shooting Qassam missiles indiscriminately, seeking out crowded areas for attack, blowing up as many Israelis as possible.

To draw parallels between the actions of Israel and the actions of the Hamas is to misunderstand the situation and to underestimate the stakes.

New Bin Laden Tape
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 30, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

The new "bin Laden tape" has several purposes:

Most important is to pay tribute to Zarqawi and proclaim him a hero.

Next in importance is to send out the message to al Qaeda adherents that Osama bin Laden is a major player in both sad times and in victorious times.

This tape is a bin Laden prop.
The tape portrays him as a great international Muslim leader who pays respect to the dead and appeals to the enemy - George Bush - in the name of honor for the dead and in order to console the family of an Islamic fighter.
Bin Laden actually asks the president of the United States to allow the body to be brought to Zarqawi's family in Jordan - there is no chance of that happening.

The tape shows that despite the rumor about their disagreements, in death, Bin Laden respects Zarqawi as a true Jihadi, a true fighter for Islam.

For 19 minutes, on video graphics with audio overlay, Osama bin Laden hits home the point that he is THE true Muslim leader.

Israel Must Hit The Terrorists
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 29, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Palestinian terror groups have discovered the soft belly of Israel.
Three Israeli citizens have now been kidnapped.
One has been executed.
And counting.

Israel will not and cannot countenance the kidnapping of Israeli citizens.
Israel is responding with tremendous force.
Israel will use these kidnappings as an opportunity to pounce on and set right many of the smaller irritations that have been ignored of late - chief among them the barrage of Qassam missiles being fired at Israeli communities

Psychologically it is more important for Israel to search out the kidnapped citizens, even if the search fails, than to do nothing.
Once Israel advances, hot on the heels of the terrorists, there is A CHANCE that the victims will emerge alive.
If Israel plays the game of sit and wait or relies on outside interests to negotiate, the fate of the Israeli citizens is sealed - certain death.n
Israel will make sure the terrorists know the price of kidnapping and brutally executing Israelis.
Think of Israel as a mother lion protecting her cubs.

Why Israel Invaded Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 28, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

It seems counter-intuitive.
Why would Israel invade Gaza in the hope of find their missing/kidnapped soldier?
Wouldn't negotiations be a better route?

Terrorists don't think like other people.
These are terrorists and the chances of getting the young soldier back alive are maximized in a sophisticated strike, minimal in dialogue.
The point is to apply pressure on the captors which will, ideally, force them to try to escape or hide, or just abandon their charge and run.

What if it doesn't work?
Israel's threatened invasion is a tool of intimidation.
If the threat doesn't work, if it backfires, it may force the hand of the terrorists and the result would be the death of Gilad Shalit.

By invading Gaza, by encroaching on the terrorist's territory, Israel is utilizing the best weapon they have for getting to their soldier.
There is no way that Israel can, or will, negotiate with the terrorists.
Negotiations that have taken place did not include Israel, they were conducted by other countries and concerned groups pleading for the life of the Israeli soldier.

If Israel were to negotiate with terrorists each and every Israeli would become a target for terrorist kidnappings.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 27, 2006


Armies take captives. Terrorists kidnap.

Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli Defense Force soldiers and kidnapped a third, Gilad Shalit. The Palestinian attack on an Israeli military outpost was well planned and executed. Better planned and executed than the myriad other attacks that Palestinian forces regularly attempt and that the Israeli army regularly thwarts.

Israel is calling for Hamas, the terrorist force behind the kidnapping, to return their soldier alive and unharmed. Israel is saying that unless their soldier is returned they will temporarily re-invade Gaza, home base for the terrorists, and destroy Hamas the organization and Hamas the ruling government.

If Israel does enter Gaza they will, I believe, hit hard and furious. The IDF will conduct surgical strikes, targeting terrorist leaders and operatives. They will also conduct non-discriminatory strikes in order to stimulate all Palestinians to feel the fear of reprisal. If Israel re-enters Gaza there will be massive damage and many casualties.

For Israel the trade-off is Gilad Shalit or the elimination of Hamas in Gaza.

For the Palestinians the trade-off is an Israeli invasion into Gaza for the unity of their people.

Hamas, for their part, is actually looking forward to, even welcoming an Israeli strike. They see it as the perfect opportunity to unify a divided Palestinian people against the common enemy. They see it as a way to bring gun-toting, warring, Fatah and Hamas and Islamic Jihad members together under the umbrella of Hatred Of The Israeli.

Responsibility for the bold attack has been claimed by three Hamas groups: Hamas proper, The Popular Resistance Committees, and a little known Hamas organization called The Army of Islam. The groups have issued a joint statement. They have two demands. The soldier will be returned to Israel in exchange for all female Palestinian prisoners and all Palestinian minors imprisoned in Israel.

Within the Palestinian Authority there has been a call to try to find the Israeli soldier and free him. Some voices within the Hamas-led government have spoken out against the kidnapping. Mahmoud Abbas the president of the Palestinian Authority has begged the kidnappers to let no harm come to the soldier. But this official PA condemnation of the terrorist attack is, I believe, nothing more than a diplomatic ploy taken out of the Yasser Arafat Handbook Of Damage Control Following A Successful Mission Against Israel. Arafat, the mastermind of many attacks would, immediately following the attacks, express outrage, cry out for the culprits and say generally anything he thought would stave off Israeli reprisal.

Despite the few public requests, it seems quite clear that Hamas leadership certainly in Damascus knew about the attack and that they are responsible for the attack. Hamas operates under the principle that military targets are fair game and they claim this attack - rightfully - as a great military victory. They also claim to have disabled the tank, the powerful Israeli war machine with nothing more than good planning and the aid of Allah.

Outside of Gaza there is criticism and condemnation of the kidnapping of Gilad Sharit. Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, France, the United States and the United Nations have been trying, through diplomatic maneuverings, to make headway with Hamas and with the specific Hamas groups responsible for the kidnapping. A personal call was placed to the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority expressing the hope that the entire matter would end peacefully. The prime minister, a Hamas member, a Muslim Fundamentalist, accepted that personal call - from the Pope.

Inside Gaza there is dancing and celebration. As I monitor the Palestinian press I know that the Palestinian people - leaders, thinkers, family members of the attackers, mothers of Palestinians in Israeli prisons and men and women on the street - take pride in the actions of the kidnappers. The Palestinians are heaping congratulations upon the terrorists who conducted a daring raid that immobilized an Israeli tank and that killed two soldiers and wounded and kidnapped Gilad Shalit. I would not be surprised if there were more kidnappings to come.

Palestinians are saying that they must make certain that at least ten Palestinian prisoners are exchanged for the one Israeli. One mother asks why her three children sitting in Israeli prisons are less valuable than the one soldier. I'll tell her why.
Her children were not kidnapped, they are in a prison.
Her children receive three proper meals a day, food that is good, plentiful and nutritious, probably better than the rest of her family eats.
Her children have fresh air, medical treatment, heat in the winter even air conditioning in the summer.
Her children's lives are not at risk and they may even get out of prison in time.

Most of all, the lives of her children and of the children of all Palestinian mothers have been decreed less important, less valuable, less worthy not by the Israelis, but by the Palestinian people themselves.

PA & Chemical Weapons
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 26, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis are mounting.

The Palestinian attack against an Israeli outpost that resulted in the death of two Israeli soldiers and the kidnapping of a third is the most public manifestation of the rising hostilities.

In response to the attack Israel is threatening to invade Gaza, find their soldier and track down those responsible for the attack.
In response to Israel's threat the al Aksa Brigade, an arm of Fatah, has issued its own threat.
Fatah says that they are not afraid of an Israeli invasion into Gaza.
Fatah says that they are prepared for an Israeli invasion and that "with the help of Allah we are pleased to say that we have developed over 20 types of biological and chemical weapons, this after a three year effort."

Do the Palestinians really have "over 20 types of biological and chemical" weapons?
They probably have very crude systems that are effective in only a small radius from the explosive. Even on a Qassam missile their delivery system cannot be very effective.

The best bet for delivering these weapons is on the back of a suicide bomber.
That's also the most effective way of getting a conventional bomb to its target.

The Sermon & The Riot
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 25, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Israeli prisons are a microcosm of Palestinian society.

A riot between Palestinians broke out in the Israeli prison Shata on Friday.
The fact that the riot broke out on a Friday is very significant.
Friday is the Muslim day of rest and even in prison religious Muslims hear an Imam sermonize and pray.
It was the Friday sermon that sparked the riot.

The Imam chose to deliver a scathing attack against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for going to Jordan and meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
It was Abbas supporters against affiliates of Islamic Jihad, all in an Israeli jail.

Muslim society is not united.
Muslim society is by no means a monolith.

Iran & Uranium, They're At It Again
By Micah Halpern

Saturday June 24, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Iran is at it once again, playing their games - and winning.
It's about time that the United States - the most powerful of all Western nations - also become the smartest Western nation.

Here's what happened:
In Vienna, on Thursday, Iran's deputy Nuclear Negotiator delivered a speech at a Think Tank which was translated into German and distributed by the Iranian Embassy.
The translated version spoke of uranium enrichment - and whether it was a precondition for talks.
The Iranian Embassy, the people who distributed the translation, are calling the translation a mistranslation. They are saying that the text should have read that Iran can enrich uranium "without any preconditions."

Honestly, it doesn't make a difference what the text says.
Iran will do whatever it wants to do - which in this case is enrich uranium at will and whim - especially because they know that it irks the West in general, and the United States in particular.
Besides, the Nuclear Proliferation Agreement allows them to do so.

It's monitoring that should be the big issue, that's where Iran will put up the biggest fight.

No Surprise -- A Terror Plot
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 23, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

The fact that the FBI actually arrested seven people in Miami suspected of plotting to blow up the largest building in the United States, Chicago's Sears Tower, should come as no surprise.

The attacks in Toronto and London and Madrid and Istanbul taught us a lesson: terrorists can and will be locals, people comfortable with the environment in which they are living and able to move seamlessly within the population they are plotting to destroy.
And recently released intelligence reports confirm that there were attempts to fly planes into large building in Australia and England and Italy.

Terrorists are out there - plotting, planning, maneuvering and making mistakes - even in the United States of America.
Do not be surprised.
Open your eyes, watch carefully and report what you see.
We have to find the terrorists.
And we will.
And we do.

Iran @ The World Cup
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 22, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

I love it when sports mirror politics. Take, for example, the World Cup.

Iran has been eliminated from the world famous World Cup.
Three matches, two losses. 3-1 Mexico, 2-0 Portugal, a tie 1-1 with Angola.
It was embarrassing.
In the eight World Cup games Iran has played over the years, they won only once, in 1998, 2-1 beating out the USA in an intense match.

In true sportsmanship fashion, before the game against Angola, the Iranian team coach - a Croatian - announced that he was quitting.
He was a professional when you fail you take responsibility.

That's not enough for Iran. The Iranian Football Federation voted overwhelmingly to fire the Federation head, a politician named Mohammed Dadkan whose responsibility it is to provide the best facility, the best environment, the best conditions for the athletes.

The World Cup is a serious competition. Only one country wins.
Unlike Iran, other losing countries don't start firing before the games are over.

Losing in Iran has a price - getting fired is definitely better than being beheaded.

Abbas is Absurd
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 21, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

The goings on in the Middle East today play out like Theatre of the Absurd.

Act I: Israeli citizens living in the city of Sderot are protesting because the Israeli army is not doing enough to prevent Palestinians in Gaza from firing Qassam missiles at them.

Act II: The Palestinians in Gaza firing Qassam missiles into Sderot say they will stop only when Israelis protest the bombs the Israeli army is lobbing into Gaza.

Act III: Palestinian President Abbas calls for a halt to the firing of Qassam missiles into Israel from Gaza.

The most absurd part?
Abbas delivered his lines in Jordan, in Petra - the ancient Nabatian city built into the rock face of the red mountains.
And who was his audience? A group of Nobel Prize winners.
What was the point?

If Abbas truly wants to halt the firing of Qassam missiles he must speak to and meet with his own people, Palestinians, not Nobel Prize winners.
He should be on radio and on TV and in the newspapers.

And then, maybe, Abbas might win his own Nobel Prize.
Or maybe, perhaps, a Tony.
The envelope, please.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 20, 2006


The prospect of Palestinian civil war is looming closer and closer. It is a prospect that is daunting not only for Palestinians but for the entire Arab world. Intra-Palestinian fighting frightens everyone.

The question is how to prevent Palestinians from killing each other. The Arab world and their best Western and European Union friends have come up with a solution. They are reviving a tried-but-true mechanism, one that has been used - successfully - throughout the Middle East in order to unify feuding groups. It is called invoking anti-Israel sentiment and promoting anti-Israel diplomacy.

Just think about it. By invoking anti-Israel sentiment and promoting anti-Israel diplomacy the Palestinians can concentrate on something greater, more nefarious, more awful than the situation their chosen leaders have chosen for them, the people. And Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is playing right into the hands of anti-Israel promoters. Believe it or not, the current incarnation of anti-Israel sentiment is couched in an attack on the dreaded notion of Israel's plans for unilateral actions.

In an absurd twist of diplomatic-correctness, the efforts of Olmert to move Palestinians in the direction of possible statehood are being met with displeasure in certain diplomatic circles. Olmert is being called arrogant, aggressive, impatient, thoughtless. How dare he, they are asking. How dare Israel's prime minister offer to give up Israeli land to the Palestinians and ask nothing in return? Who does he think he is? What does he think he is doing?

Olmert's efforts to chat up world leaders about the lack of a negotiating partner for peace as long as Hamas is in power, about the need to resolve issues and set borders so that Israelis can go about their lives, is being turned against him, against his country and against the process that would lead to Israel exiting from Palestinian areas.

Palestinian President Abbas, the man who was pushing ahead for a Referendum that would include peace with Israel, with Palestinians living side-by-side with Israelis, is now devoting himself to a new plan. Now, rather than face-off against Hamas and live with the consequences, Abbas is pushing forward a plan that would stop any unilateral decisions on Israel's side. And most of the Arab world is jumping at the opportunity to sideline peace with Israel in the name of internal Palestinian peace.

So called liberal Arab states, including nations with previously negotiated peace treaties with Israel, are among Abbas' most vocal supporters. Jordan and Egypt have come out with direct statements clearly rejecting any unilateral steps taken by Israel. The European Union has also stepped up pressure and is engaged in an effort to marginalize if not totally halt Olmert's intentions.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Union External Relations Commissioner which is the EU's equivalent of foreign minister, just visited Israel. She left a mixed message. On the one hand Ferrero-Waldner praised Olmert's plan, on the other hand, she criticized it. The plan, she said, was a "very courageous idea but Europeans believe unilateral steps do not lead to real peace."

Well, Olmert isn't fooling himself. Israelis, like Europeans, know that unilateral actions do not lead to "real peace" - no one disputes that. By undertaking unilateral actions Olmert is underscoring the facts on the ground. The reality is that Palestinians are not ready to negotiate and proof of that is the ascent of Hamas to power. The argument should stop right there.

But Benita Ferrero-Waldner continued, not just criticizing but actually threatening Israel. The EU Commissioner said: "We will not recognize any borders between Israel and the Palestinian Authority determined by unilateral steps."

The question begs asking: Why is the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world and by extension the European Union and by extension other European countries so interested in mounting an offensive against Israel's unilateralism when they should be trying to organize a serious Palestinian government with a plan calling for Palestinians to live next to Israel? The question is rhetorical, we all know why.

The reality is that it is much easier to create a multi-national campaign against Israel than it is to change or harness or discipline extremists from within. It is far more attractive to the Arab world to trounce Israel than to trounce the Palestinian Authority as weak and ineffective and to label Hamas as being an obstacle - if not "the" obstacle - to peace.

The world has chosen to take the path of least resistance. If a campaign against Israel blows up, the casualties will only be figurative. When a campaign against Hamas blows up, the casualties are always literal.

Palestinians V Palestinians
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 19, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Israel has agreed to transfer large numbers of rifles and ammunition to Mahmoud Abbas' personal security force - Force 17.
The goal is to strengthen Abbas in the face of the fast growing forces of Hamas.

On the surface, this appears like a good thing for Abbas. But let's take a look.
Abbas claims that the guns have not arrived, that Israel is attempting to drive a divisive wedge between the Palestinian people.
It's a PR ploy - Abbas needs and wants the weapons, but can't say that outright.

There is proof that the munitions are on their way.
Over the past week there were at least 5 appeals to the Israeli Supreme Court to nix the deal - all failed.
And now the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) has launched an investigation into the 3000 guns that Force 17 HAS received.

The PLC claims that this is an attempt by the US and Israel to foment a civil war.
It is unlike me to agree with the PLC, but they are absolutely correct.
The idea behind the arms transfer is to bolster the Abbas forces so they can defend themselves and their positions against Hamas.
The hope is that Abbas will convince the masses of Hamas' genuine objectives and in the end support a toppling of the Hamas led government.

Egypt's & Jordan's Solution
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 18, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Jordan's King Abdullah and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak have just concluded a meeting in Sharm el Sheik, the Egyptian resort town on the Red Sea.

This is their second face-to-face meeting in two weeks.
What did they talk about? The growing tensions between Palestinians.
It was the only item on the agenda.
Both Egypt and Jordan have significant stakes in maintaining stability in the Palestinian Authority.

They determined that the problem is intra-Palestinian tension.
You'll be surprised by the resolution these two "big brothers" to the Palestinian people arrived at:
Their resolution is to call for a renewal of peace talks with Israel.

How will that solve the problem?
The logic is, Palestinians will unite by focusing on a common enemy and unite them.
Here's the problem with their solution:
The whole argument is about peace with the Israelis - Abbas wants it, Hamas does not.
Can the Arab leaders be so blind?

Palestinian Birth Myth
By Micah Halpern

Saturday June 17, 2006
I've Been Thinking:

Myths are powerful, but they are not always truthful.

One famous myth, popular in Arab and Israeli circles, has it that because of their burgeoning birth rate, the Arab population in Israel will soon outnumber the Jewish population.

The myth continues with the prophecy that the Jewish State will soon be overrun by the Arab secret weapon - the womb.

Yasser Arafat enjoyed spreading this myth and took pleasure in the false prophecy.

The Central Bureau of Statistics just released figures showing that over the past 5 years Arab reproduction in Israel has continued - to drop.

In fact, Arab reproduction rates dropped 8% between 2000 -2004.

Arab is in Israel now average 4.36 children per family.

During the same period Jewish reproduction increased from 2.66 children to 2.71 children per family.

Today, Arabs families in Israel have only about 1 1/2 more children than Jews.

It's a seesaw.

The more successful THEY are, the fewer children Arab families have.
The more successful THEY are, the more children Jewish families have.

Syria Helping The PA
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 16, 2006

I'm Predicting:

Syria is calling on Hamas to recognize Israel.
That is odd.
Syria does not recognize Israel.

Syria does have credibility with Hamas and it is on the basis of that credibility that the request to recognize Israel is being made. Taking it a step further, Syria even wants Hamas to accept the Saudi Peace Plan.
The thinking is that if Hamas accepts the Plan a lot of the pressure being brought upon the entire Arab world, Syria included, will be relieved.

Syria is trying to instruct Hamas in the Lessons of Leadership.
There is a distinction between ideas and reality, a difference between ideology and statehood.
The practical reality of management requires adopting ideas and adapting visions to best meet new conditions of power and leadership.

These ideas are truly awesome.
Too bad, but Hamas will ever be ready to hear them. Never, not ever.

Palestinian Unity Government?
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 15, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Due to the tremendous amounts of pressure the Western world is placing on Hamas it appears as if the organization is about to collapse.

The financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority is worsening.
Yesterday, Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud al Zahar was caught entering Gaza through the Rafah checkpoint with a suitcase containing $20 million.
The foreign minister had to sign an affidavit swearing that the money was going directly to the Palestinian treasury.

The Palestinian press is running with the rumor that this Hamas government will disband and a National Unity government, led by a technocrat, will emerge.
A Palestinian National Unity government may sound like a good idea, but in reality, it is only a band-aid cure for what ails the Palestinians.

The problem is that Hamas will never recognize Israel.
Hamas does not and cannot hide that fact.
Re-packaging Hamas, even under the guise of a National Unity government, will not solve the larger problem.
When Hamas goes, politically, they must be gone, entirely.
Only then will the Palestinians be on the road to healing and recovery.

Iranian Intel & Zarqawi
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 14, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Reports are telling us that Iran helped the United States find Zarqawi.

The reports, saying that Iranian intel was used to find and then target Zarqawi, are circulating internationally.
For Iran, this is very bad PR.
How can the Iranians be seen as assisting the West, the infidels, in a battle against Islam?!

Iran had to make an official comment squelching the reports.
The official response from Teheran said that they were very happy that Zarqawi is dead - but they did not help.

Zarqawi regularly targeted Shiite religious centers and mosques and holy places.
Zarqawi assassinated Shiite religious leaders.
Zarqawi's death will not be mourned by Iran.
But the idea that Iran helped a non-believer kill a believer, ...
Possible? Certainly.
Probable? Maybe.
Iran will never admit to anything.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 13, 2006


Political unrest, much like military unrest, has been brewing in the Palestinian Authority for quite some time. Hamas versus Fatah. Fatah versus Hamas. And now, accusations and counter accusations are popping up all over. I'd say that Palestinian politics is beginning to percolate.

President Abbas is pushing through a Referendum. The Referendum Abbas wants asserts that Palestinian will live side by side with Israel. Hamas refuses - unequivocally, to accept the principle of living Israelis, let alone of Palestinians living side-by-side with Israelis.

Hamas refuses to even call the Referendum a Referendum. Instead, they call the Referendum and the document Palestinians would be voting on a "declaration of a coup against the government." They have called the entire issue illegal.

Technically, officially, the Referendum is named the National Reconciliation Document but it is also being referred to by a much more popular title. Because the document was composed by five Palestinians sitting in Israel's Hadari prison, the Palestinian press has dubbed it the Prisoner's Document. The most senior designer of the document is prisoner Marwan Bargouti, secretary general of Fatah. Another senior contributor is Abdel Halek Natshe, a leader of Hamas. Prison, at least Israeli prison, seems to be the great Palestinian equalizer.

The document itself contains eighteen points. The most significant point, the point that Hamas finds it hardest to accept, recognizes Israel within the '67 borders. On that issue the document is unbending. The document continues with a point long held by Secretary General Bargouti, long before he became one of Israel's most highly-placed prisoners. It rejects attacks on Israelis within the '67 borders and welcomes attacks on settlers over the border.

The document is overwhelming supported by the Palestinian masses. When it goes to Referendum it will win a significant victory. And a victory for the Referendum is a definite defeat for Hamas.

Hamas does not want to be ousted from office. Hamas is taking the challenge seriously. Hamas has begun a counter-campaign. They have pressured the Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners who signed and developed the document to withdrawn their names and their support. The prisoner/signees now claim that the paper they wrote was never meant as a political document intended for Referendum. They claim that President Abbas has co-opted the document and manipulated it. They claim that the President's actions are an "unacceptable abuse" of the document. The Palestinians are facing off in what appears to be a case of the (tea)kettle calling the (coffee)pot black.

For his part, Abbas has the overwhelming support of the masses, the Palestinian Street. Abbas says that there is no legal problem with the Referendum. According to Abbas "There is no article in the basic law that says a referendum is not allowed. It states that the people are the source of all power." He said that "As chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and president of the Palestinian Authority, I have decided to exercise my constitutional right and duty to hold a Referendum over the Document of National Reconciliation."

In order to legally halt the Referendum, Hamas would have to stop it in the Palestinian Parliament. According to Palestinian law, that would require a two-thirds Parliamentary majority. The chances of Hamas swaying Parliament is highly unlikely. Hamas has only 74 of 132 Parliamentary seats, which translates into only slightly over a 50% majority. And that is why Hamas is trying to defeat the Referendum by turning it upside-down and inside-out.

Hamas is putting the blame on Abbas, challenging his authority for doing something "illegal." The Hamas counter-attack is not working.

Palestinians are witnessing the beginning of the end of Hamas in power. Just as they voted Hamas in, they are - through the Referendum - preparing to vote Hamas out. Because after the referendum will come elections.

And while Israel has long awaited the political downfall of Hamas, this is not the way they would have chosen to put Hamas out of power. The success of the Referendum has a definite downside for Israel.

Palestinian acceptance of the Referendum will mean a shift in pressure forcing Israel to offer serious concessions. Essentially, the language in the document concerning the '67 borders is very, very strong. There is no possibility for compromise on the issue of borders and the 1967 Green Line. The original document had to be firm. Otherwise, it would never have been written and never have been accepted by the Palestinian people.

Good news for the Palestinians, bad news for the Israelis

Jordan Takes a Stand
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 12, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Four Jordanian members of Parliament visited the family of notorious terrorist Zarqawi in order to express condolences.
The Jordanian members of Parliament praised Zarqawi calling him a "martyr."

After their mourning call the four Jordanians went to a mosque where one of the Parliamentarians, Mohammed Abu Fares, delivered a sermon.
Abu Fares spoke of the Jordanians murdered in hotels in Amman in three, near simultaneous, al Qaeda attacks, an operation planned entirely by Zarqawi.
Abu Fares said those victims of terror were not martyrs, he said, "I can't describe them as martyrs; these were mobs and ignorant (people)."

The Jordanian government is outraged.
The Jordanian people, the masses, are outraged.
The Jordanian Parliament has disavowed any connection with the four and demanded that their party, The Islamic Action Front, discipline their members.
The Jordanian government wants to prosecute the four Parliamentarians for violating the best interests of their government. (They have been detained for questioning.)

The Jordanians will use these four prominent members of government to set an example - embracing terrorists will not be tolerated in the Jordanian Empire.

Terrorist Should Fear US
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 11, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

"Beware of the repercussions" seems to be the buzz "on air" in the aftermath of Zarqawi's death.
I say, we are facing no greater threat of terror today than we faced last week.

Zarqawi's people are very highly motivated. They were always very highly motivated. There is no greater height on the motivation scale. There is no such thing as "very, very highly motivated." They are motivated to kill us.

Of course they will try to hit the US targets. Of course they will try to hit soft targets who affiliate with US interests. But that was always the case.

We cannot live in fear of retaliation. We cannot. We must continue to strike at terrorist command and control apparatus. We must. Otherwise, terrorists will have the upper hand psychologically. Otherwise, terrorists will intimidate our actions and our reactions.

Terrorists must be made to live in fear - fear that they will be caught, targeted, found out, killed. Terrorist leaders are the ones who should beware the repercussions of their own actions.

New Video From Al Qaeda
By Micah Halpern

Saturday June 10, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

It's all a game of Mass Psychology.

The United States targeted al Zarqawi proving that it might take time but the long arm of US justice will track down murdering terrorists, terrorist organizers and terrorist leaders. This is a huge boost in US morale, especially for soldiers who daily confront a faceless enemy called TERROR.

And now a new video surfaces of Dr. Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's Number Two.
Remember, this is all about Mass Psychology.

It does not matter if the video is new or old. The video is not made for us, it is directed at al Qaeda adherents and potential recruits. It gives al Qaeda members around the world a sense that, even now, they are safe and the movement lives on.
The video was released to say to al Qaeda supporters that the US really cannot get to most of us. That with all the resources in the world the US wastes huge amounts of time and money chasing only a few. And when the United States finally locates someone, they cowardly shoot two faceless missiles from planes.

That is the message that al Qaeda wants their members to have, the message they want to spread around the Muslim world.
Whatever the West thinks about this video - is totally irrelevant.

Zarqawi Is A Start
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 9, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Terror in Iraq is not about a single individual.
Yes, al Zarqawi was charismatic and magnetic and daring. Yes, he drew many adherents to the cause. Yes, his death disrupts the command and control operations of the terror network.
Yes, another leader, a new terror-chief, will emerge and take his place.

Cutting off the head of the serpent is an enormously significant victory in fighting terror.
It boosts morale - for soldiers and for citizens - in the battle against terror.
But unless we also successfully target mid-level operatives - the people who really get their hands dirty, the people who will be rising in the ranks - as well as high-level coordinators it will only be a matter of a few months if not weeks before a new organization emerges.
In order to capitalize on the hole left by the death of their leader, in order to make it more difficult to re-group and re-organize, we must incapacitate the entire movement for several years.

Command and control of al Zarqawi's unit has been disrupted.
But al Zarqawi's brand of terror has only been injured, not eliminated.
Now is the time to strike.

World Cup & Iran
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 8, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Sometimes, "back - door" diplomacy is just plain back - wards.

Take the World Cup Soccer Tournament, for example. The Tournament begins in Germany on Friday and Iran is one of the competing nations.
Mohammed Alibadi, a vice president of Iran, will be attending the opening match between Germany and Costa Rica, and, he will stay on to cheer Iran's first match against Mexico on Sunday June 11, in Nuremburg.

Germany granted Mohammed Alibadi a visa.
Alibadi "says" he is not representing President Ahmadinejad, but who is he kidding? .Alibadi is representing Iran and the leader of Iran is Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad is a big soccer fan. The team gave him an official shirt before they left for Germany emblazoned with his name and the number 21.
He would love to go and watch the World Cup himself - so much so that the word is that if Iran advances to the second round he will go to Germany.

And Germany will let Iranian President Ahmadinejad in.
The Germans say that "there is no ban on Iranian officials traveling to Germany."
Let me remind Germany that there is, however, a law against denying the Holocaust. It is against German law to say what Iran's leader has said.
And yet, under the pretense of sport, Ahmadinejad will be free to enter Germany.

Meine lieb.

The Prisoner's Document
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 7, 2006

I'm Predicting:

Last week I predicted that the Palestinian Referendum would be postponed and voila, Prime Minister Abbas has pushed the referendum off 'til the week-end.

The Referendum is officially named the National Reconciliation Document but because it was composed by five Palestinians imprisoned in Israel's Hadari prison, the Palestinian press has dubbed it the Prisoner's Document.
The most senior of the prisoners is Marwan Bargouti, secretary general of Fatah. Another contributor is Abdel Halek Natshe, a leader of Hamas.

The document has 18 points.
It recognizes Israel within the '67 borders and is unbending on that issue.
It rejects attacks on Israelis within those borders and welcomes attacks on settlers over the border.
The document is overwhelming supported by the Palestinian masses.
The document will win a significant victory when it goes to referendum.

For the Palestinians it will be the beginning of the end of Hamas in power.
For the Israelis it will mean a shift in pressure to offer serious concessions.
Good news for the Palestinians, bad news for the Israelis - essentially because the language in the document concerning the '67 borders is so very, very strong.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 6, 2006


Think like a terrorist.

If you want to stop terrorism, you have to think like a terrorist. Not like a bureaucrat.

The Office of Homeland Security is a bureaucracy. Plain and simple. The decision to cut 40% off the anti-terrorism funds allocated to New York City, arguably the most famous city in the world, is a bureaucratic decision. No guts, no heart, no soul, not even any common sense went into the decision. It is a "just crunch the numbers and make a bureaucratic decision" decision. The same rules of bureaucracy are being applied in the decision that may cut 15% off of New York's bio-terror allocation.

Here is the problem. There are undoubtedly some great minds in the Office of Homeland Security, but not terrorist minds. And in the business of fighting terror, thinking like a bureaucrat is tantamount to thinking like a victim. And that is deadly. Literally, figuratively, deadly.

The people given the task of allocating Homeland Security funds used a simple calculus. They were told that the first target terrorists will hit will be national monuments. They were told that national monuments represent America and that's why they are the obvious choice for the next major attack or set of attacks against the United States.

The information is accurate. The thinking that goes along with the information is faulty.

Terrorist do not want to hit America, they want to hit AMERICA. Terrorists do not only want to hurt the West, they want their supporters and fellow Fundamentalists to know that they hurt the West. Hurt them bad. Hit them hard. They want the world to take notice.

What the men and women of Homeland Security do not understand is that the world notices what goes on in New York and in Washington and in Los Angeles - and cares about what happens there - much more than they notice or care about what happens in Charlotte, North Carolina. In the world of the terrorist, Charlotte is nowhere.

And while it is true that when you bean count, monument for monument, New York does not top the list, that is really not the point.

Terrorists do not just care about destroying any old monument or about inflicting terror on some we-don't-know-where-it-even-is wasteland. Terrorists do not target a location purely for the fear factor, not in the United States, not in Europe, not even in the Middle East. The primary objective in terrorist planning and targeting is value to the terrorist adherents.

How will the attack play back at home? What awe will it inspire throughout the Muslim world? Will new recruits swarm to the cause? Chillicothe and Toledo can relax, if people have never heard of a city, monuments or not, that city will never become a target.

That's why North Carolina is out. It might fit the bureaucratic calculus, but it does not fit the criteria of the terrorist calculus. Does it still need an anti-terror allocation? Certainly - but not against attack. North Carolina needs an allocation from Homeland Security because sleeper cells were discovered in Charlotte. North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, these states need human intel and analysis. Sleeper cells can be cultivated anywhere, but the cities in which the sleepers live will be attacked only by accident and human error. And the resources needed to flush out sleeper operatives are very different from the resources needed to prevent targeted attacks against monuments, the visible symbols of Western decadence.

In the minds of Americans Mount Rushmore is as mythic as it is large. But how many Americans even know where Mount Rushmore is? Were that same monument in New York it would be a target. In South Dakota the greatest threat to Mount Rushmore remains erosion.

The power of terrorists lies in the impact of their attack. Terrorists need their supporters to believe that the great Allah has reached out to strike at the core of the evil that seeks to corrupt Muslim beliefs and values. The people delegated to worry about our safety must understand what the terrorist knows to be true. Not to understand the true objectives of terror puts us all at unnecessary risk.

Palestinian Civil War
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 5, 2006

I'm Predicting:

Hamas is losing it's lead - politically, militarily, economically, socially.

Student government elections in several Gaza colleges, divisions of al Quds University, gave Fatah 70% of their vote. Last year that same 70% went to Hamas. Student elections in West Bank universities gave Fatah the same lead.

Shootouts between Hamas and Fatah are routine, daily occurrences. Innocents, like a pregnant woman in one of the latest clashes, are being killed in the cross fire. Fatah is putting its military on alert. Hamas is appointing new police.

Tuesday's referendum deadline is almost here. There might be a chance for an extension, but little to no chance of a compromise.
Hamas has said "no" to accepting Israel and "no" to a referendum. They have actually consulted international and legal experts who concluded that there can be no referendum on Palestinian land. And their religious consultants maintain that the Koran rejects the concept of referendum.

The internal Palestinian situation is looking bad for Hamas.
Hamas is faltering.
It is just a matter of time before Hamas collapses.

The worse it gets for Hamas, the closer the Palestinian Authority gets to civil war.
Each passing day brings civil war one step closer.

Just Blame The US & Israel
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 4, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

In Damascus, on Friday, terrorists stormed the national TV and radio building.
Four people were killed, two people were injured and four others were taken captive.

The Syrians blamed the United States and Israel for the attack.
To understand WHY and HOW the Syrians could lay blame elsewhere we must first understand the mindset of Middle East leadership and then analyze the way in which their decisions are made

The attack was actually perpetrated by Jund and Sham also called the Soldiers of the Levant, one of the most active internal terror groups in Syria dedicated to overthrowing the government. They are religious extremists fighting to overthrow a secular government.

Syrian leadership believes that the US and Israel are responsible because they both sow the seeds of discontent and show the potential for change.
The very fact of the existence of Israel is a sign of discontent.
The US presence in Iraq proves that regimes can be toppled.

Syrian leadership refuses to assume responsibility for internal discontent or for standing in the way or internal change.
Therefore, it only makes sense that it is external forces that motivate local groups to organize internal revolts.

China & The Palestinians
By Micah Halpern

Saturday June 3, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Now that the Sino- Arab Cooperation Forum hosted by China is over we can see who really has influence over Hamas. NOBODY.

We always knew that Hamas has no respect for the United States, now it is clear that China - the one last hope, is also powerless when it comes to Hamas.

The Chinese told Hamas that they should embrace the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, a framework composed in 2002 that suggests two side-by-side states. The Hamas response came in an interview that Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud al Zahar gave to AP. Even though China embraces the plan, al Zahar said the plan was a waste of time and impractical.

Mahmoud Abbas is pushing for a referendum. The June 6th deadline is fast approaching.
The Hamas foreign minister has called the referendum a waste of money. He says that the Palestinians just held an election, so why do they need a referendum?!

Bottom line, al Zahar is correct on both counts.
The Arab initiative is impractical, it shows no flexibility on the '67 borders.
A referendum would result in new elections and Hamas would be ousted.

It very rarely happens, but his time, I have to agree with Hamas.

Egypt & Saudi Arabia
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 2, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak just hosted Saudi King Abdullah in the town Sharm el Sheikh, a resort famous for peace talks and scuba diving.

On the agenda were two important issues:
Relations between Hamas and Israel
Iranian nuclear development
The meeting ended with some surprising and fascinating conclusions and advice.

About the relations between Hamas and Israel they advised Hamas to move ahead in a process toward peace with Israel.
This is fascinating because Saudi Arabia has no relations with Israel.

About Iranian nuclear development they advised that Iran be open to negotiations with the United States and the West.
This is fascinating because Egypt and Saudi Arabia stand to gain the most if Iran stops nuclear development and if Iran does not stop nuclear development, then Egypt and Saudi Arabia will be forced to develop their own nuclear programs.
The advice was given in order to prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Is this a case of "do as I say" or "do as I do"?

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