Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Israel Targets Hamas' West Bank Activities

ATFP submitted this article which is indicative of the degree to which Fatah is on the back foot in the West Bank. The irony is that this is precisely the sort of strategy on which Hamas thrives. How the Israeli government can consistently be so incompetent is incomprehensible. Do they want to see Hamas predominate? Just keep on this way and build the martyr syndrome and they will drive Fatah out of existence single handed.

Israeli military forces say they are shutting down Hamas-affiliated institutions in the West Bank, including schools, health centers and charities. Israeli officials say Hamas, the more militant of the two main Palestinian Arab factions, is spreading its control from Gaza to the West Bank, where popular support for it over the more moderate Fatah faction is enabling Hamas to take over not just Islamic institutions but civilian infrastructure as well, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Monday. Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said the Israeli military is fighting "a rearguard battle" by targeting Hamas-controlled institutions in an attempt to cut off funding sources for terrorist activities. A military source said the move is also meant as a bid to stem Hamas' rising popularity and keep it from wresting control from the Palestinian Authority. "They have knowledge, funds and skilled people, much more so than Fatah," the source told Haaretz.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Jaweed Al-Ghussein


Jaweed Al-Ghussein was one of the founders of the Next Century Foundation and has been a longstanding advocate for peace and reconciliation.

Jaweed was a key pillar of the PLO in the early days and was regarded by many as Yasser Arafat's right-hand man.

He was treasurer of the Palestinian National Fund for many years and served on the PLO Central Committee. He famously argued that Palestinian Jerusalemites should exercise their vote in the Jerusalem elections, losing the argument in the Central Committee by just one vote. Had Jaweed won the day, Teddy Kolek would have been bolstered by the Palestinian vote and would have served another term as mayor and much would have been different.

Jaweed helped establish the Next Century Foundation following a conversation with the late Claud Morris, the founder of the NCF, about their profound belief that a private forum must be created at which views could be exchanged in private between Israelis and Palestinians concerned to see peace in the Middle East. So earnest was he in this regard that he provided the initial core funding.

Later Jaweed split with President Arafat over the latter's support for Saddam Hussein during the invasion of Kuwait, an act for which President Arafat always bore a grudge. The bitterness between the two men reached such a pitch that it culminated in the high profile kidnapping of Jaweed in Abu Dhabi from whence he was taken to Gaza and imprisoned. No charges were ever laid against Jaweed though unsubstantiated allegations of financial irregularity from his days at the Palestinian Fund were circulated. During this period the NCF sent a number of emissaries to Gaza to solicit Jaweed's release, all to no avail. His case was taken up by the UN working group on Arbitrary Detention which determined that there was "manifestly no legal justification" for his imprisonment. His health deteriorated to such a degree in captivity in Gaza that he was thought to be dying and he was removed to hospital in Cairo. Efforts were made to facilitate his escape to the West but he was then snatched back to Gaza from the Palestine Hospital in Cairo once it became clear his health was improving. His health then deteriorated further and his continued imprisonment became an embarrassment. It was agreed that he be moved to hospital in Jerusalem. There Jaweed made a partial recovery and he was then able to leave for the West. He took up residence in London and enjoyed intermittent good health though he never fully recovered from the effects of his Gaza captivity.

He died late last night and is survived by his daughter Mona, his son Tawfiq, and his wife Khalida. He will be sorely missed.

The family have asked us to inform NCF members who may know Jaweed personally that the funeral is at 3 pm on Friday in Hendon Cemetary followed by a reception at 65 Chesterfield House, Chesterfield Gardens, London W1.