As the 72-hour cease-fire began on Tuesday, August 5, 2014, Israel began its withdrawal from Gaza, but Israel Defense Forces (IDF) remained on alert, ready to re-launch its attack if Hamas’ rocket fire continued. While a clear majority of the Israeli public backed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government military campaign to dismantle Hamas’ ability to operate against Israel, growing pressure from the U.S. administration to scale back the IDF operations prompted Netanyahu to go ahead with another cease-fire.
The previously drafted cease-fire plan Secretary of State John Kerry submitted to Jerusalem ignored the interests of moderate Arab states such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and of course Israel. It placed Israel, the most reliable U.S. ally in the Middle East, on the same level as Hamas, a terrorist group designated as such by the U.S. State Department.
Qatar is Hamas’ chief financial donor, whose donations enable it to purchase Iranian missiles, build tunnels, and other weapons of terror. Qatar, along with Turkey, whose Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called Zionism (the Jewish national liberation movement) “a crime against humanity,” seems to have been the Obama administration’s chosen interlocutors.
Israeli Knesset (Parliament) members both on the left and right of the political spectrum found themselves with a conundrum. While seeking to grant the wishes of Israel’s closest and most important ally – the U.S. – to end the military operations in Gaza, they were stunned by the Obama Administrations pro-Hamas tilt, and its Muslim Brotherhood allies – Qatar and Turkey. Labor party MK Nachman Shai joined right-wing MK’s in opposition to the U.S. cease-fire initiative. Shai stated that President Obama’s insistence on stopping the fighting now will prevent Israel from achieving the military objectives of this campaign. If Israel can’t destroy the tunnels and the war-making infrastructure of Hamas, Israel will rightfully end the campaign with a sense of loss.
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Road Safety, Tzipi Hotovely declared on Monday (7/28/2014) “The U.S. proposal for a cease-fire serves only the interests of Hamas.” She added, “For the first time in years, the Israeli public is decisively behind the government in supporting the continuation of the IDF operation (Protective Edge) in Gaza. The Israeli government must bring about a change in the rules of the game, and bring about the defeat of Hamas.”
Among President Barack Obama’s advisors on the national security team are some who firmly believe that the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate Muslim movement that should be used as a counterweight to Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. It is for this reason that the Obama administration has turned to the Muslim Brotherhood-led regimes of Qatar and Turkey, to negotiate a cease-fire in Gaza between Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood Hamas terrorist group.
ABC-TV’s Jonathan Karl reported on 2/10/2011 that “Director of National Intelligence James Clapper raised some eyebrows today at a House Intelligence Committee hearing when he described the Muslim Brotherhood as a “largely secular” organization. The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood,’ is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam…” Gaza based Hamas is an affiliate of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
According to U.S. retired Admiral James Lyons (Washington Times 2/13/2013), John O. Brennan, appointed by President Obama to head the CIA, and formerly key counterterrorism advisor to President Obama, is of concern.
Admiral Lyons pointed out that “Brennan’s track record of empowering the Muslim Brotherhood both domestically and abroad allowed the jihadist enemy access to the highest level of government under the stealth guise of ‘nonviolent outreach partners.’ For example, terrorists like Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations who has been linked to Hamas and leaders from the Islamic Society of North America, unindicted co-conspirators from the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2008, and work with national security staff providing input to U.S. counterterrorism strategies. That is hardly comforting. It cannot be denied that U.S. policy on Islam, Shariah law and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular has undergone a sea change during the time Mr. Brennan has had influence on our national security.”
Admiral Lyons contends that Obama’s appointee as Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, has a lot to answer for. “His position on our defense budget and his appearance on Al-Jazeera where he characterized the United States as a bully in world affairs are more than troubling. As an aside, Al-Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar, which has now been revealed as a major contributor to the Atlantic Council when Hagel was the chairman, according to Cliff Kincaid, the director of the Center for Investigative Journalism.” In addition, “Hagel’s stated position on direct negotiations with Iran with no preconditions is also of concern, as is his position on our only true ally in the Middle East – Israel.”
While John Kerry may be on a genuine quest for a cease-fire and a diplomatic settlement in Gaza, the Turkish government of Tayyip Erdogan has approved a new provocative measure against Israel. A new flotilla called “Freedom Flotilla II” will sail to Gaza to provide “humanitarian assistance” with the support of the Turkish navy. The organizers of the Flotilla are the same Islamist organization IHH, ideologically close to Erdogan’s Islamist AK party. Apparently, Erdogan seeks a military confrontation with Israel, since the IHH flotilla would have to be inspected by Israeli naval vessels. Erdogan, the very person President Obama considers a “peacemaker,” charged Israel last week of committing “barbarism worse than Hitler.” He added, “Since Israel’s creation in 1948, we have been witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every day and every month. But above all, we are witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every Ramadan.” This is clear and unmistakable anti-Semitic incitement that should draw wide condemnation starting with President Obama.
Qatar in the meantime, signed a deal with the U.S. to buy Patriot missiles and Apache attack helicopters. The deal is estimated to be worth $11 billion. Defense secretary Chuck Hagel signed the weapons agreement with Qatar Minister of State for Defense Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah on July 14, 2014. Now the question is will some of the weapons purchased find their way to Gaza?
The Obama administration, by its actions hitherto appeared to be unable to distinguish between the ‘good guys and the bad guys’ in the Middle East. With all his good intentions Kerry’s push for the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, and the impending Cairo talks may be for naught. Iran, Qatar and Turkey are preparing Hamas for the next round with Israel. In the final analysis, only a Hamas that is militarily defeated and politically neutered can provide a chance peace for both Palestinians and Israelis.
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