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Home arrow Palestinian Elections arrow The New Hamas: Between Resistance and Participations
The New Hamas: Between Resistance and Participations PDF Print E-mail
Aug 21, 2005 at 12:00 AM
by Graham Usher [Middle East Report Online, August 21, 2005]
(Graham Usher, a contributing editor of Middle East Report, covers Palestine for Middle East International and al-Ahram Weekly.)

“In March 2005, Hamas, the largest Islamist party in Palestine, joined its main secular rival Fatah and 11 other Palestinian organizations in endorsing a document that seemed to embody the greatest harmony achieved within the Palestinian national movement in almost two decades. By the terms of the Cairo Declaration, Hamas agreed to "maintain an atmosphere of calm" -- halt attacks on Israel -- for the rest of the year, participate in Palestinian parliamentary elections scheduled for July and commence discussions about joining the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In the eyes of many, the Islamist party had not come so close to reconciliation with Fatah since it emerged as a political force in the late 1980s, and certainly not since Fatah became the dominant party within the Palestinian Authority (PA) created in 1994. “This is a turning point for the region,” said top PA negotiator Nabil Abu Rideina of the Cairo Declaration.

In July, Hamas and PA police forces squared off in armed clashes in Gaza that left two dead and scores wounded in the worst intra-Palestinian violence since the second intifada erupted in the fall of 2000, and arguably since November 1994, when the PA police shot dead 14 Palestinians during a Hamas demonstration outside Gaza’s Palestine mosque.

What brought about the fall from concord in Cairo to confrontation in Gaza? ...”

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Israel planned for Lebanon war months in advance, PM says
  • Olmert's leaked testimony contradicts earlier remarks 
  • Criticism from inquiry may force resignation

Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
Friday March 9, 2007
The Guardian

Preparations for Israel's war in Lebanon last summer were drawn up at least four months before two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbullah in July, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, has admitted.

His submission to a commission of inquiry, leaked yesterday, contradicted the impression at the time that Israel was provoked into a battle for which it was ill-prepared. Mr Olmert told the Winograd commission, a panel of judges charged with investigating Israel's perceived defeat in the 34-day war, that he first discussed the possibility of war in January and asked to see military plans in March.

According to the Ha'aretz daily, which obtained details of Mr Olmert's testimony, the prime minister chose a plan featuring air attacks on Lebanon and a limited ground operation that would be implemented following a Hizbullah abduction. Hizbullah had made several attempts to capture Israeli soldiers on the border since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Israeli commentators believed that Mr Olmert and Amir Peretz, the defence minister, took the opportunity of the kidnapping to show they could manage a war in spite of their limited military experience. But the outcome of the war seemed to highlight their lack of experience and also deficiencies in Israel's military planning.

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