MORE ON THE HAMAS-ISRAEL CONNECTION. This is what they dont tell you!!

 

MORE ON THE HAMAS-ISRAEL CONNECTION

A UPI article by Richard Sale offers more on the connection between Israel and the Hamas organization.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, speaking of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas recently described it as “the deadliest terrorist group that we have ever had to face.” Active in Gaza and the West Bank Hamas wants to liberate all of Palestine and establish a radical Islamic state in place of Israel. It has gained notoriety with its assassinations, car bombs and other acts of terrorism.

But Sharon had left something out.

Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.

 

Israel “aided Hamas directly — the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO,” said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.

Israel’s support for Hamas “was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative,” said a former senior CIA official.

According to documents obtained from the Israel-based Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT) by UPI, Hamas evolved from cells of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928. Islamic movements in Israel and Palestine were “weak and dormant” until after the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel scored a stunning victory over its Arab enemies.

After 1967, a great part of the success of the Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood was due to their activities among the refugees of the Gaza Strip. The cornerstone of the Islamic movements success was an impressive social, religious, educational and cultural infrastructure, called Da’wah, that worked to ease the hardship of large numbers of Palestinian refugees, confined to camps, and many of whom were living on the edge.

 

“Social influence grew into political influence,” first in the Gaza Strip, then on the West Bank, said an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to ICT papers, Hamas was legally registered in Israel in 1978 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the movements spiritual leader, as an Islamic Association by the name Al-Mujamma Al Islami, which widened its base of supporters and sympathizers by religious propaganda and social work.

Funds for the movement came from the oil-producing states and directly and indirectly from Israel, according to U.S. intelligence officials. The PLO was secular and leftist and promoted Palestinian nationalism. Hamas wanted set up a transnational state under the rule of Islam, much like Khomeini’s Iran.

What took Israeli leaders by surprise was the way the Islamic movements began to surge after the Iranian revolution, after armed resistance to Israel sprang up in southern Lebanon organized by an Iran-backed movement called Hezbollah that bore similitaries to Hamas, these sources said.

“Nothing stirs up the energy for imitation as much as success,” commented one administration expert.

 

 

A further factor of Hamas’ growth was the fact the PLO moved its base of operations to Beirut in the 1980s, leaving the Islamic movements to strengthen their influence in the Occupied Territories “as the court of last resort,” he said.

When the intifada began, the Israeli leadership was further surprised when Islamic groups began to surge in membership and strength. Hamas immediately grew in numbers and violence. The group had always embraced the doctrine of armed struggle, but the doctrine had not been practiced and Islamic groups had not been subjected to suppression the way groups like Fatah had been, according to U.S. government officials.

But with the triumph of the Khomeini revolution in Iran, with the birth of Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorism in Lebanon, Hamas began to gain strength in Gaza and then in the West Bank, relying on terror to resist the Israeli occupation.

Israel was certainly funding the group at that time. One US intelligence source who asked not to be named, said that not only was Hamas being funded as a “counterweight” to the PLO, Israeli aid had a more devious purpose: “to help identify and channel towards Israeli agents Hamas members who were dangerous terrorists.”

In addition, by infiltrating Hamas, Israeli informers could listen to debates on policy and identify Hamas members who “were dangerous hardliners,” the official said.

 

In the end, as Hamas set up a very comprehensive counterintelligence system, many collaborators with Israel were weeded out and shot. Violent acts of terrorism became the central tenet, and Hamas, unlike the PLO, was unwilling to compromise in any way with Israel, refusing to acknowledge its very existence.

Even then, some in Israel saw some benefits to be had in trying to continue to give Hamas support: “The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the other groups, if they gained control, would refuse to have anything to do with the pace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place,” said a U.S. government official.

“Israel would still be the only democracy in the region for the United States to deal with,” he said. All of which is viewed with disapproval by some former U.S. intelligence officials.

 

 

 

“The thing wrong with so many Israeli operations is that they try to be too sexy,” said former CIA official Vincent Cannestraro. Former State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson told UPI: “The Israelis are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting terrorism. They are like a guy who sets fire to his hair and then tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer.They do more to incite and sustain terrorism than curb it.”

Aid to Hamas may have looked clever, “but it was hardly designed to help smooth the waters,” he said. “It gives weight to President George W Bush’s remark about there being a crisis in education.”

 

Cordesman said that a similar attempt by Egyptian intelligence to fund Egypt’s fundamentalists had also come to grief because of overcomplication.

An Israeli Embassy defense official, asked if Israel had given aid to Hamas replied: “I am not able to answer that question. I was in Lebanon commanding a unit at the time, besides it is not my field of interest.”

Asked to confirm a report by U.S. officials that Brigadier General Yithaq Segev, the military governor of Gaza, had told U.S. officials that he had helped fund “Islamic movements as a counterweight to the PLO and communists,” the Israeli official said he could confirm only that he believed that Segev had served back in 1986.

 

 

http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=3561&a=871374

AND MORE:

War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

The military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves. 

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline. 

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority. 

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21,  2007). 

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001). 

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.  

The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger. 

 


Map 1

 

Map 2

Who Owns the Gas Fields

The issue of sovereignty over Gaza’s gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine. 

The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza’s offshore gas reserves. 

British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields. 

The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine’s sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that “Israel would never buy gas from Palestine” intimating that Gaza’s offshore gas reserves belong to Israel. 

In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza’s offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003) 

The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.  

In 2006, British Gas “was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt.” (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt. 

The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert  “to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority.” The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians. 

Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:   

Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat. 

Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza’s offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel. 

The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:

 “Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror”. (Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on “The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas,” March 1, 2006, quoted in Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza’s Coastal Waters Threaten Israel’s National Security?  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 2007)

Israel’s intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.(BG website). 

Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board

The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under “Operation Cast Lead” was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources: 

“Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”(Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)

That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza’s natural gas:  

“Both Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler agreed to inform BG of Israel’s wish to renew the talks.

The sources added that BG has not yet officially responded to Israel’s request, but that company executives would probably come to Israel in a few weeks to hold talks with government officials.” (Globes online- Israel’s Business Arena, June 23, 2008)

The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage.  

Moreover, these negotiations with British Gas were conducted by the Ehud Olmert government with the knowledge that a military invasion was on the drawing board. In all likelihood, a new “post war” political-territorial arrangement for the Gaza strip was also being contemplated by the Israeli government.     

In fact, negotiations between British Gas and Israeli officials were ongoing in October 2008, 2-3 months prior to the commencement of the bombings on December 27th.  

In November 2008, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures instructed Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to enter into negotiations with British Gas, on the purchase of natural gas from the BG’s offshore concession in Gaza. (Globes, November 13, 2008) 

“Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler wrote to IEC CEO Amos Lasker recently, informing him of the government’s decision to allow negotiations to go forward, in line with the framework proposal it approved earlier this year.

The IEC board, headed by chairman Moti Friedman, approved the principles of the framework proposal a few weeks ago. The talks with BG Group will begin once the board approves the exemption from a tender.” (Globes Nov. 13, 2008) 

Gaza and Energy Geopolitics 

The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.

What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?

What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine’s Natural Gas reserves? 

A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or “peacekeeping” troops?  

The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel? 

The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas?  

If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel’s offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above). 

These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel’s energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport – pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan. 

Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. “What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel’s Tipline.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)

 

 

 

The US taxpayers are financing the massacre in Gaza while the Americans are loosing theirs jobs and homes!

 

 

Yet another Israeli led and U.S. backed massacre is taking place as the world watches in horror.  The western media, is desperately trying to peddle the puny rockets of Hamas as bullying, does journalistic back flips in avoiding the utter carnage brought down by the much more powerful –U.S. made and paid for—Israeli missiles.

 

In an effort to target Hamas, the Israeli military has massively bombed over 300 sites and counting, including a five story building that was demolished at a university campus.  As of this writing, 391 Palestinians have been officially counted as dead with nearly 2000 wounded.  The number of dead is certainly undercounted, as bodies still lie under mountains of rubble (the number of dead Israelis is five).  To say that only “Hamas militants” are being targeted is a most shameful lie.

The truth is, if one is to target Hamas specifically, the Gaza population in general must be attacked, since they offer Hamas not only wide support, but attend Hamas-financed schools, mosques, health clinics, and soup kitchens.

 

This fact led to the above mentioned bombing at the university. Hamas is not simply an Islamic parliamentary body but a nationalist political organization with a large social service apparatus with close ties to the majority of people in the region.

On November 4, while much of the world watched Barack Obama’s victory celebration, Israel used this distraction to break the ceasefire between itself and Hamas by bombing the Gaza strip.  Israel claimed this violation of the ceasefire was to prevent Hamas from digging tunnels into Israeli territory.

 

The very next day, Israel launched a terrorizing siege of Gaza, cutting off food, fuel, medical supplies and other necessities in an attempt to “subdue” the Palestinians while at the same time engaging in armed incursions.

In response, Hamas and others in Gaza again resorted to firing crude, homemade, and mainly inaccurate rockets into Israel.  During the past seven years, these rockets have been responsible for the deaths of 17 Israelis.  Over the same time span, Israeli Blitzkrieg assaults have killed thousands of Palestinians, drawing worldwide protest but falling on deaf ears at the UN.

 

Hamas’ recourse to rockets represents acts of desperation, which unfortunately— due to their arbitrary character— help Israeli citizens cling to their right-wing Zionist government for protection.

 

The outrage produced by the occupation and now destruction of the Palestinian society, combined with the continued savagery of the Israeli government, make the Middle East an especially combustible area. .

The U.S. puppet dictator in Egypt, Mubarak, is making his already-shaky regime less popular by his role in the conflict, by manning the tightly sealed Israeli border with machine gunners to force back terrified Palestinians.

 

The king of Jordan, Abdullah, yet another U.S. financed tyrant, resides over a population deeply sympathetic to the Palestinians, but did all that his bosses in Washington would allow him to do— nothing.

The whole Middle East is brewing with resentment in hatred with this action, putting pressure on strained U.S. puppet dictators across the region, such as the recently formed one in Iraq.

Not only are the Middle East client states in danger of disintegration, but Israel is capable of expanding the conflict, as the western corporate media openly talks about Hamas’ “enablers” in Lebanon and Iran.  Much attention is being focused on not only Hezbollah’s open support of the Palestinians, but on Iranian religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who “decreed” that all Muslims have an obligation to defend the Palestinians.

 

Now, accusations are being made that Iran, Hezbollah, and even China have supplied Hamas with more “sophisticated” missiles. 

The undeniable logic here is that Israel would be justified in attacking these countries if they were found — or suspected of — supplying Hamas with weapons or other support useful in a war setting.

 

It must also be noted that the current Israeli military operation was not a spontaneous act, but the result of months of planning, since the level of targets being fired upon requires substantial intelligence gathering.  The planning involved was revealed by Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, who called the bombing campaign the “first of several stages” in operation “Cast Iron”.  A rejected ceasefire and the continuing swell of ground troops ready to invade on the border could intensify the slaughter.

 

It is undeniable that Israel’s allies, most importantly the U.S., were fully aware of the invasion beforehand, but also of the destabilizing effects it would have on the entire region at a time when the Middle East — thanks to the U.S. and Israeli — needs only a spark to ignite.  It is possible that the current conflict will provide Israel with the pretext it has needed to finally attack Iran, since government officials have not been shy in discussing the idea before operation Cast Iron began.

 

The very real possibility of a wider Middle East war — itself capable of drawing in the world — receives no comment from Barack Obama, who also must have known about Israel’s plans beforehand.  Other leading Democrats simply cheer-leaded the Israeli advance while sternly lecturing the Palestinians.

 

This reaction of the Democrats comes not from some underground Zionist conspiracy, but the very profitable service Israel provides to U.S. corporations, by providing “stability” to the region — through state terror — so that U.S. businesses can continue to dominate the region.

In exchange, the Israeli ruling class receives not only huge subsidies from the U.S. — in the form of weapons of mass destruction and cash — but is enabled to use the constant threat of war to terrorize its native working class into submission.   

This grossly irrational-appearing relationship between the U.S. and Israel has a solid, logical core: that of the profit motive inherent in a capitalist economy and the oil needed to lubricate it.  So that U.S. corporations may dominate the Middle East, competing corporations elsewhere need to be scared away, while native populations need to be terrorized into obedience.

 

The basis on which to end this war requires mass protests, demanding that billions of dollars of U.S. aid to Israel cease, combined with a deeper understanding of the causes of imperialism and war.

 

 

 

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