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Update – 20 March 2008

Dear Advocates,

A disturbing video featuring Hamas MP Fathi Hammad has been issued by MEMRI TV (Middle East Media Research Institute) in which Hammad, who is also one of the leaders of the Hamas military wing, admits that it is one of his group’s strategies to conduct terrorist activity from civilian areas.

Hammad states, “[The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘we desire death like you desire life’.”

This is not simply random talk from a terrorist on the streets of Gaza. Hammad is a Minister from the supposedly democratically elected government which rules over the 1.4 million Palestinians living in Gaza and receives substantial support from the population.

It is in effect an admission by Hamas of a war crime because that is the precise description of the activity he describes and indeed boasts about.

This statement demonstrates a clear difference in the mentality of the opposing sides and comments such as ‘we desire death like you desire life’ are a chilling reminder of the callous attitude adopted by the Palestinian leadership to their own people.

Perhaps they could also serve a wake up call for those in the media who quote statistics of casualties suffered by both sides in the conflict and sympathise with one side alone simply because the numbers suggest their suffering is greater. The morality of a particular cause is not determined by the results of a numbers game.

On a similar note is this article from the New York Times entitled Poll shows most Palestinians favor violence over talks. It covers a poll conducted by Khalil Shikaki from the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, whereby the poll “showed greater support for violence than any other he had conducted over the past 15 years”. The poll also showed that Hamas is gaining support in the Fatah-controlled West Bank and that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians supported the attack on Merkaz HaRav, which killed eight Israelis.

Shikaki blames the poll results on Israeli actions including their operations in Gaza and counter-terrorist operations in the West Bank, which “have led to despair and rage among average Palestinians who thirst for revenge”.

However, the path to peace appears unobtainable as long as state-controlled television continues to spout such hatred and as long as an education system continues to teach hatred.

Interestingly, the article has an accompanying photo with a caption that reads, “A Palestinian woman fled Tuesday from an Israeli military raid on Zababida in the West Bank”, which also seems to inexplicitly place the blame once again on the Israelis.

For a comprehensive update of terrorist activity over the past week please read News of the Palestinian confrontation from the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre. This article also provides information on the five terrorists that were by the IDF in two West Bank operations last week (for the initial reports, click here).

On the world stage, UN Watch, which monitors the United Nations and promotes Human Rights, has demanded that Sudan answer to world body over Darfur atrocities. They declare that on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the UN can “pay tribute by protecting the most fundamental of all human rights – the right to life.” They call on the UN to “to make ending the massive crimes in Darfur one of its top priorities”. Read the rest of the statement, and see below Sudan’s reply.

In our local media, both the Age and Australian have reported today about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s address to the Knesset, where she stated, ‘the Shoah fills us Germans with shame… I bow to the victims. I bow to all those who helped the survivors’. Please read Holocaust fills Germans with shame, says Merkel from the Age, and Merkel tells Knesset of Germany’s shame (online: Knesset lauds historic Merkel speech) from the Australian.

An interesting article has appeared in Jerusalem Post entitled PA urges Palestinians to ‘return’. It states that the Palestinian Authority is “planning to mark Israel’s 60th anniversary by calling on all Palestinians living abroad to converge on Israel by land, sea and air” under an initiative entitled ‘The Initiative of Return and Coexistence’. Even the title of the initiative suggests that the PA has “abandoned a two-state solution in favour of one state where all Arabs and Jews would live together”.

If this is indeed correct then it goes against that which has been promoted in peace negotiations with the Palestinians regarding two states for two peoples. The PA is effectively saying it wants two states for one people and, in doing so is ignoring the right of the Jewish people to self-determination while demanding that right for the Palestinians.

A website called “Together 4 Israel”, supported by a number of other organisations such as Honest Reporting and Stand With Us, has put together an online rally in support of those living under fire in Israel. They are asking community members to join over 1 million people and visit  on Thursday 20 March 2008 at 11:00pm Israel time (which is 8:00am Friday 21 March Eastern Daylight Saving Time) to watch a live broadcast online of solidarity rallies from around the world. Show your support for the people of Israel living under the constant threat of terror.

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Best wishes,


Emily Chrapot
Research Officer
State Zionist Council of Victoria
9272 5507