Monday, December 29, 2008

News Roundup: Iran recruiting and IDF actions

News round-up

Iranians register volunteers to fight Israel - the "Combatant Clergy Society" has activated its website for a week to register volunteers to fight either against the Zionist regime (Israel) in either the military, financial, or propaganda fields.

The original call is in Persian on their official website. I've machine-translated from Persian to English. Some of the highlights . . .

"the armed to the teeth Zionist regime victimized innocent people to achieve their evil goals in the Gaza Strip" . . . "Why (tolerate) this corruption? the casualty toll for all human beings rises. For more than half a century the evil have had bloody jaws" . . . There are then seven calls for all Muslims of the world to follow in order to "to solve this global difficulty", #6 of which is "mobilize all Muslims in the world to suicidal operation" In Persian that last is rendered as عمليات استشهادي

5 reported dead in latest IAF strike - the Jerusalem Post puts the Gaza Strip death count at 322 Palestinians, including 57 civilians so far. Recent targets include Islamic University, where IDF says two laboratories used for research and development by Hamas were targeted, as were University buildings used for meetings of senior Hamas officials.

The IDF News site (Hebrew) Objectives that were attacked tonight: Center of R&D of combat materials of the Hammas, warehouses, emplacements and tunnels. Also the office of the head of government for Hammas, Ismail Haniyeh was strafed.

Al-Jazeera's current top headline: Israeli bombardment strikes diverse targets in the Gaza Strip including houses and two mosques

The Israeli Foreign

The Hindu reports: India to release 65 Pak. prisoners tomorrow - in what's being called a "good will gesture" the Pakistani nationals will be sent home via the Attari joint check post per the direction of the Union Home Ministry

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei and Arab world respond

One of the things this blog will be trying to do is show as close to original sources as possible. We start today with the statement of the Ayatollah Khamenei, directly from his Ministry of Information's website. Note that in the view of the Supreme Leader of Iran, somehow this is Bush's fault. We have to remember that each act of agression against Islam anywhere in the world is being tied back to those of us who live in the United States.

The statement:

`We belong to Allah, and to Him we return`.
The horrific atrocity of the Zionist regime in Gaza in which hundreds of innocent men, women and children were massacred pushed the curtain of deception from the blood thirsty face of the Zionist wolves and noted the negligent about the presence of this hostile disbeliever in the heart of the lands of Islamic umma.
The horrendous ordeal is very heavy and moving for any Muslim not to say for any free and noble human being in any corner of the world.
However, the larger ordeal is the encouraging silence of some Arab governments which claim to be Muslims.
Which ordeal could be larger than the fact that Muslim governments, otherwise expected to support the innocent Gaza people against the usurping and hostile regime, adopted a mood which encouraged the criminal Zionist authorities to impertinently consider them as in harmony with the large tragedy?
Which answer the heads of those countries have prepared to give to the Messenger of Allah (S A )?
Which answer they have prepared to give to their own nations which are indeed mourning the tragedy?
Indeed today the heart of the Egyptian, Jordanian and the people of other Islamic countries is overwhelmed with sorrow about the bloodshed as well as the protracted food and medicine embargos.
By his complicity in the large crime, the criminal Bush's administration in the last days of his shameful rule more darkened the face of the American regime than ever and added to its dossier of war crimes.
The European governments with their indifference and sometimes their complicity in the large tragedy once more proved that their claims of advocacy for human rights are false and also showed they are present in the front against Islam and Muslims.
Now, I ask the scholars and Alims of the Arab world and the chiefs of the Egyptian al-Azhar center `isn`t it the time to feel the threat facing Islam and Muslims?
` `Isn`t it the time to fulfill the mandatory act of standing against any bullying ruler?
` Is an additional, more divulging scene of complicity between the hostile disbelievers and the hypocrites of umma in repressing the Muslims than the current Gaza and Palestine developments is needed to prompt you to feel responsibility?
I have also a question to ask the media and the intellectuals of the world of Islam and especially the Arab world.
For how long you have decided to remain indifferent regarding your media and intellectual responsibility?
Has there remained any more face for the scandal-hit human rights bodies of the west and the so-called `security` council of the United Nations to lose?
All the Palestinian Mujahid and other faithful of the world of Islam are supposed to defend the defenseless people of Gaza.
Anyone who is killed in the legitimate and holy defense is a martyr and is hoped to be among the ranks of the martyrs of Badr and Ohud battles in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (S A).
The Organization of the Islamic Conference must fulfill its historical responsibility in the sensitive conditions and form a solid front, bereft of inaction and preservations, against the Zionist regime.
The Zionist regime must be punished by the Muslim governments.
The heads of the usurping regime must be tried and punished in person for their crimes and the protracted siege.
The Muslim nations are able to materialize the demands through firm resolve.
The duty of politicians, Alims and intellectuals in this juncture is much heavier than others.
I declare Monday a day of general mourning in commemoration of the Gaza tragedy and instruct the country`s authorities to fulfill their duties regarding the sad incident.
`And those who do wrong shall surely know by what overturning they will he overturned`.
Sayyed Ali Khamenei.
December 28, 2008

(source: )

Other Arab world responses:

Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military branch of Hamas, said through its spokesman, Abu Ubeida, "The Israeli occupation needs to know that it has cast itself into the fire."

Pro-Hamas websites are starting to display photographs of the dead and dying, such as this thread on a site which calls itself the "Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades" Al-Qassam English Forum: Thread Photos of the wild Zionist aggression on Gaza 27/12.

The front page of the Arabic version of Al-Jazeera also leads with a picture of more than a dozen dead uniformed men, in a story headlined in Arabic 282 Martyrs among crowds and military in the Israeli raids. The caption to the picture is "The number of martyrs in Gaza massacre is likely to rise (Reuters)".

The second Al-Jazeera story is Growing number of martyrs and wounded in Gaza - the Arab world responds, which actually contains links to many other stories, including this story:

حماس تدعو الفلسطينيين لانتفاضة ثالثة والعرب لموقف عملي/HAMAS calls on Palestinians to third intifada and for Arabs to provide support, which contains a far more detailed statement by Hamas than what I've seen in Western media. "The deposed government in Gaza, Hamas, still leads, and will not lift the white banner and will renounce the rights of the Palestinian people, no matter how rigorous the Israeli assaults."

3 top Hamas officers among 230 killed during IAF strikes on Gaza - Haaretz

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Operation Cast Lead: Hamas calls for Third Intafada in Response

At least 228 are dead as the Israeli Defense Force launched its greatest attack since the Six Day War. Called Operation Cast Lead, or מבצע עופרת יצוקה, the action shows a new boldness by PM Ehud Olmart.

Hamas ended its six month cease fire with Israel on December 19th. The terrorist group has begun a regular shelling of Israeli cities with Qassam rockets and mortars. There have been occasional attacks, but following the end of the cease fire, on December 21st fifty rockets struck Israel, followed by sixty attacks on Christmas Eve. (Wikipedia maintains a list of Qassam rocket attacks.)

On December 24th, Benjamin Netanyahu announced that if he was elected Prime Minister he would "topple Hamas leadership".

Israel's current Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, started off in the same party as Netanyahu, the Likud party, which is often called "the hawkish Likud party". Olmert was the youngest member of the Knesset when elected, and served six terms, three as a Likud party member, before running for the mayor of Jerusalem, where he served two terms. In November 2005 he pulled out of the Likud party and joined Ariel Sharon's Kadima party. This was two month's after Sharon's announcement of the Disengagement Plan, which called for the pull-out from Gaza of all Israeli citizens.

This action set up a political controversy between those who wanted Israel to maintain control of Gaza, and those who were willing to give the territory up in an attempt at peace with Palestine.

Olmert's party switch seemed to make it clear which side he was on. With an election for Prime Minister looming on February 10, 2009.

In polls released on December 25th, Likud was thought to be holding a lead in the Knesset, being estimated by both the Dahaf survey and the Dialogue survey to hold 30 of the 120 seats (down from 36 predicted two weeks earlier). Kadima is thought to stand to hold 26 seats.

PM Ehud Olmert appeared on Al-Aribya television to issue a last minute warning that if the rockets didn't stop, "I will not hesitate to use Israel's strength to strike at Hamas and Islamic Jihad."

Today we saw the results of that promise as more than 140 targets were bombed with more than 100 tons of ordinance by the Israeli Air Force, killing more than 230, and with injuries sure to exceed 1,000.

One of those targets was the Al Aqsa TV station, the voice of Hamas, which despite losing its studios to the Israeli bombs continued to broadcast from mobile locations.

Hamas' prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, declared his movement would not be cowed.

"We are stronger, and more determined, and have more will, and we will hold onto our rights even more than before," Haniyeh said. It was not clear where he spoke.

In Damascus, Syria, Hamas' top leader, Khaled Mashaal, called on Palestinians to rekindle their fight against Israel. "This is the time for a third uprising," he said.
(source: AP "Israeli assault on Hamas kills more than 200".

The First Intifada (sometimes called "War of Stones") ran from 1987-1993. The Second Intifada, known as "Al-Aqsa Intifada", began in September 2000 with a movement that began at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Updated: Other media links

After IAF strike kills at least 230 in Gaza, Hamas chief vows third Intifada has come - Haaretz

Bombardment of Gaza Enters Second Day - video from BBC