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Gaza: the Jihad Advances

Shortly after attacking an Arab Christian family, Palestinians have turned to raiding abandoned synagogues in Gaza -- in a move remniniscent of their Nazi soulmates from long ago. Yet the PA's pledge to continue jihad activity, pullout or no, has been met with silence from Foggy Bottom.

“This is an historic moment for both sides, and the commitment of both sides to a successful disengagement process has been impressive,” said Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on September 12 about the Gaza withdrawal.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad were pleased as well. In a gesture reminiscent of Mehmet the Conquerer ordering the shehada, the Islamic confession of faith, to be proclaimed in the great Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople after the Muslim conquest of 1453, Hamas leaders gathered in the synagogue in Kfar Darom for Islamic prayer. (Other synagogues were torched, and festooned with the black flag of jihad, all over Gaza.) Ahmad Jabari, a senior Hamas leader, declared: “The withdrawal proves that the resistance is the only legitimate weapon. We will strike at any hand that reaches for our weapons. The jihad and the resistance are the only ways to liberate our homeland, not negotiations and agreements.”

Gaza Victory News, an enormous popular CD of victory songs circulated by Hamas in Gaza, boasts that “our people achieved victory by Jihad.”

Despite his declared differences with Hamas, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas seems to agree with the terrorist group on this point. “We must remember,” he told a throng of supporters at the international airport in southern Gaza, “that our achievements are the result of the sacrifices of the martyrs” — that is, the suicide bombers who have blown up countless Israeli civilians. “The martyrs have paved the road for us. The sacrifices of the martyrs, the wounded and the detainees, made the occupation leave Gaza and evacuate the settlements. This step will be followed by further withdrawals from the West Bank and Jerusalem.”

But anyway, now we will have peace, right? Well, not exactly: Palestinian National Security Adviser Jibril Rajoub: “The PA and its Arab neighbors are ready to deal with extremists and anyone who wants to create chaos once there is hope of ending the occupation.” In other words, we will rein in the terrorists only after terrorism has helped us attain our goals. Rajoub elaborated on those goals: “What we need now is a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, including the seaport and the airport, free passage for Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank and freedom of movement between Gaza and Egypt.” Oh, and he wants money: “The international community, for its part, should channel large sums into rehabilitating and developing Gaza.”

But the international community has good reason to hesitate after publishing giant Mortimer Zuckerman, former World Bank president and White House Middle East envoy James Wolfensohn, and other philanthropists gave $14 million to buy the hugely successful greenhouses that the Israelis had operated in Gaza. “Despite my skepticism,” Zuckerman explained, “I thought to myself, ‘This is perhaps the only illustration or symbol of what could be the benefits of a co-operational, rather than a confrontational attitude.’” Unfortunately, the co-operational attitude was somewhat lacking on the other side: on September 13, in a self-defeating expression of contempt and hatred for the departed Israelis, a large crowd overwhelmed Palestinian Authority guards and looted the greenhouses, carrying off everything they could.

The greenhouse incident illustrates in microcosm the dynamic of the entire Gaza withdrawal: open-handedness and good will on the part of the Israelis, the U.S., and private citizens, only to be met with jihadist intransigence and hatred from the Palestinian Arabs. Said former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Israel gave and gave and gave some more. And Palestinians got more and more and more. And what did we get in return? The answer is: Nothing, nothing and nothing.”

And maybe worse than nothing. Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei hailed the Gaza withdrawal, declaring: “The only way to confront the ‘Zionist’ enemy is the continuation and fortification of resistance and Jihad….With the cooperation of Jihadi groups, success is also possible in other parts of the occupied territories.” Will Iran bankroll that jihad, working through its surrogate terrorist group Hizballah in Lebanon?

But the State Department doesn’t appear concerned. On August 25, Palestinian Authority officials signed an agreement with the U.S. Government, under which they would receive fifty million dollars to improve the infrastructure of Palestinian territories. But gratitude was not overflowing in the PA. A week later, Imam Yusuf Abu Sneina of the Al-Aqsa Mosque declared in a sermon on official PA radio: “Anyone who watches closely the nature of our world today, can see that the heretical countries — first and foremost, the USA — have succeeded greatly in tearing our Islamic world apart by disintegrating and splitting up more than one Islamic state, intending to weaken it, disperse [its citizens] and plunder its resources… It is terrorism, and there’s no choice but to fight it….Is the USA going to fulfill its ambitions and aggressive plans? And, for how long shall the submission and surrender to the plans of the enemies of the [Islamic] nation?” He did not, however, call for return of the fifty million dollars.

Despite the continued proliferation of aggressively anti-American jihadist rhetoric, the U.S. plans to double aid to the Palestinians — from $275 million to $550 million. Yet the evidence continues to mount — the statements by Abbas lauding the suicide bombers, the torching of the synagogues, the avowals that the Gaza withdrawal is only the beginning — that the impressive commitment to a successful disengagement process lauded by Secretary Rice in fact seems present only on one side. The longer it takes for Americans and Israelis to awaken to the implications of that, the more difficult it will be for them to defend themselves from the violence that is sure to come from those who today are celebrating in Gaza.

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