Israel Update for September 2006

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The Hamas charter denounces all Arab Muslim attempts to make peace with the "illegitimate Zionist regime" and states that violent jihad is the only acceptable way to overthrow it. Backed by hardline governments in Syria and Iran, Hamas simply cannot bring itself to alter its bedrock beliefs, say many Israeli analysts, particularly since they are based on the group's fundamentalist interpretations of the Quran. The group had earlier indicated it would indirectly recognize Israel by formally accepting a 2002 Arab League peace initiative that called for a two state solution, but later in the month backed away from that position-which was anyway considered far too weak by many governments to fulfill the "recognition" condition spelled out by the quartet.

European Union foreign ministers indicated during a mid-September meeting that as soon as a PA unity cabinet was unveiled, they would quickly lift economic sanctions imposed after Hamas took over the government last March.

Cancellation of the crippling international sanctions was said to be the main impetus for Hamas to even consider sharing power with the rival Fatah movement. The foreign donor embargo has meant that over 150,000 PA workers, mainly members of several armed security forces, have not been paid their full salaries in six months, with some receiving nothing at all.

This has led to intense rioting on several occasions, including a violent assault upon PM Haniyeh's motorcade outside the Gaza City parliament building on September 18th.

With the political situation in both Israel and the Palestinian areas chaotic at best, and with Iranian-backed Syria threatening to launch military action on the Golan Heights, it seems that more regional upheaval lies just ahead. It is good in such times to recall that whatever happens here on earth, "The Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness. The upright will behold His face." (Psalm 11:7)  CR

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