Saturday, September 22, 2007

Iran has a new long range missile

Iran has unveiled a new long-range missile among an array of armaments displayed in an annual military parade commemorating the country's 1980-88 war with Iraq.
The missile, known as the Ghadr - meaning power - has a 1,800km range, officials say, putting US military bases in the Gulf within range.

Experts say the missile appears to be an upgrade of Iran's existing long-range missile, the Shahab-3, which has a 1,300km range, according to Tehran.
Addressing the parade, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, said: "Iran is an influential power in the region and the world should know that this power has always served peace, stability, brotherhood and justice.
"Brotherhooad and Justice" indeed. Below is an example of Iranian justice - four men hanged because they are homosexuals.


Friday, September 21, 2007

The Middle East's Gathering Storm

"Those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it." But those who study history are also condemned to repeat it apparently. Despite the clear warning signals, it is not likely that effective action will be taken to stop Iran. This is because, as in the case of Hitler,  the risks and the cost will appear to be too great until it is far too late. In retrospect of course, what should have been done may be perfectly clear. Insurance is always too expensive until after the accident happens. Storm windows are always too much of a chore to install until after the storm comes.
Ami Isseroff

The Middle East's Gathering Storm


Posted 9/20/2007

War On Terror: Iran, on the path toward nuclear weapons, says it's drawn up plans to bomb Israel. Syria, meanwhile, is working with Iran to arm missiles with chemical warheads. Will the world heed these danger signs?

In "The Gathering Storm," his history of World War II, Winston Churchill recalls how President Roosevelt once asked for suggestions about what the war should be called. "The Unnecessary War," Britain's wartime prime minister replied. "There never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle."

The world today is seeing the gathering of forces that, if allowed to coalesce, could unnecessarily and avoidably leave multitudes dead.

In Iran, for instance:

• Deputy air force commander, Gen. Mohammad Alavi, announced that "we have drawn up a plan to strike back at Israel with our bombers" in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran, such as an attempt to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.

• Having announced that it has reached the key threshold of 3,000 centrifuges, Iran may now be able to make enough nuclear material in a year to construct an atomic bomb.

• Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran's Islamofascist regime and a holocaust denier who says he wants Israel wiped off the map, apparently will not be allowed by New York City to visit the Ground Zero area during his trip to the United Nations next week.

Like his other acts and statements, Ahmadinejad's request seems designed to provoke outrage from Americans. Is his apocalyptic Shiite belief in the coming of a 12th imam to fight a war against the antichrist behind his repeated "asking for it" from the West?

• Iran will fire 600 Shihab-3 missiles at targets throughout Israel in the event of an attack on either Iran or Syria, according to the Jerusalem Post.

• Former President Jimmy Carter says we shouldn't take the Iran threats seriously. "I think it would be almost inconceivable that Iran would commit suicide by launching one or two missiles of any kind against the nation of Israel," he said.

Many of Churchill's critics said the same about Nazi Germany in the 1930s. But apocalyptic fanatics have been known to be suicidal, and Carter, of course, has been wrong about Iran before.

As for Syria:

• The recent raid in northeastern Syria by Israeli F-15s may have been directed against a factory where North Korean nuclear material was stored (see editorial below).

• The State Department official in charge of nuclear nonproliferation policy last week publicly confirmed the presence of North Koreans in Syria and said he "wouldn't exclude" a possible connection to disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan's supply network.

• The Israeli raid came three days after a ship with North Korean cargo docked in Syria. Israel thinks it carried nuclear materials.

• Jane's Defence Weekly reports that among the dozens apparently killed in the blast two months ago at a secret Syrian military installation were Iranian engineers who were helping the Syrians develop chemical weapons.

The publication quoted Syrian defense sources who said the explosion happened during tests to equip a Scud C missile with mustard gas, a violation of international law.

Too often, the relative peace and prosperity that the civilized world enjoys encourages complacency. The real ways for free countries to prevent a large-scale war are: 1) Be prepared to fight a war by building and maintaining adequate defenses, and 2) Recognize and eliminate obvious threats before war becomes inevitable.

Iran, Syria and North Korea are almost certainly working together on weapons of mass destruction. These terrorist states will either use them themselves or give them to Hamas, Hezbollah or even al-Qaida to use.

Churchill also expressed the "earnest hope that pondering upon the past may give guidance in days to come." History is guiding us to act against the gathering storm in the Mideast — before it's too late.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia

Columbia University has extended a speaking invitation to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Perhaps the distinguished gentleman will expatiate on the treatment of homosexuals in his country, where four of them were recently hanged. More likely he will speak about the non-occurrence of the Holocaust:
Ahmadinejad, who took office in 2005, railed against U.S. aggression in his speech to the United Nations last year, and then reveled in sparring with critics at the Council on Foreign Relations.

At that event, The New York Times quoted Ahmadinejad as repeatedly questioning evidence of the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed by the Nazis
Next guest speaker at Columbia will be Osama Bin Laden, who will give his views on Islam and effective urban renewal.
Ami Isseroff

Divestment news - Good for a change

Can this start a trend?
Thursday, September 20, 2007 - ?2005
LONDON, September 20 (IranMania) - Florida's public employee retirement fund will divest nearly $1 bln and 300 mln invested with 21 companies doing business in Iran or Sudan, an action state officials hope will be imitated across the nation, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
The State Board of Administration authorized the divestiture Wednesday.
"You will be telling every one of these companies that from this day forward we won't invest another dollar, Florida's public dollars, in those companies," state Sen. Ted Deutch, the law's sponsor, told the board.
At least six other states have similar bans on investing in companies doing business in Sudan but Florida is the first to pass such a law applying to Iran, Deutch said.
The law bars investing pension money in any company doing business in Sudan or in Iran's energy sector because both countries are on the State Department's list of terror-sponsoring nations.
Iran is suspected of trying to develop nuclear weapons and Sudan for genocide in its Darfur region.
The 21 companies are among 57 the state has listed as off-limits. Florida does not currently have investments with the other 36 companies. Several other companies remain under investigation and could be added later.
Deutch said opponents have argued it would be too difficult to identify companies, possibly hundreds, doing business in the two countries. The number is not nearly so large and Florida already has identified them, he said.
The state relied mainly on research and findings by four outside organizations, the Sudan Divestment Task Force, Institute Shareholder Services, KLD Research & Analytics and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
None of the 57 companies listed are based in the United States. The state's largest investment, $303 mln, is with Royal Dutch Shell PLC, headquartered in London, which operates in Iran but not Sudan.
Shell spokeswoman Darci Sinclair said the company is monitoring Florida's law and similar proposals in other states and Congress to assess their potential affect on the company's operations.
"Royal Dutch Shell does have a presence in Iran (although currently only limited interests) and, like other energy companies, takes a long-term view of its operations," Sinclair said in an e-mail.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chutzpa: Carter as an Iran expert

Some of you may be too young to remember that in 1979 the gormless Carter administration allowed the Ayatollah Khomeini to overthrow the regime of the Shah and institute the nightmare known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, which began by allowing student fanatics to take US embassy personnel hostage. Carter is apparently so old, that he forgot, and he has the temerity to offer his opinions about Iran:  Carter: Iran not yet a realistic threat to Israel
Carter said:
"Iran is quite distant from Israel," Said Carter, 83. "I think it would be almost inconceivable that Iran would commit suicide by launching one or two missiles of any kind against the nation of Israel."
Inconceivable, but the Iranian run Hezbollah launched hundreds of rockets against Israel.
Ami Isseroff

How to decide an election - Democracy Islamo-Syrian style

He is the fourth pro-government Lebanese MP to be blown up as part of the campaign for election of Lebanon's next President. 
The Hezbolla and the Syrians have killed 4, and have 8 more to go before ensuring that the Lebanese elections reflect the will of the Syrian people, as embodied in Bashar Assad:
Alongside one of the busiest roads in Beirut, a booby-trapped car shook the densely populated and mostly Christian neighborhood of Horsh Tabet in Sin al-Fil - killing MP Antoine Ghanem and six others.
Ghanem, 64, was a low-key legislator from the Christian Phalange Party. He was the eighth prominent anti-Syrian figure assassinated since 2005, and the fourth lawmaker from the ruling coalition to be killed, reducing the ruling majority's voting weight in Parliament - with pro-government lawmakers holding 68 of Parliament's 128 seats, compared to the opposition's 59.
"Syria is back and is killing off more of our anti-Syrian politicians!" cried a bloodied Emile Abou Hamad, whose car-rental business near the site of the blast sustained heavy damage, echoing similar angry accusations by pro-government officials.
After a respite of three months since the last assassination - that of another pro-government MP, Walid Eido, - Lebanese tuned into familiar television images of shattered glass, burning cars, and rescue teams recovering mangled corpses.
Security sources estimated that the device contained 20-30 kilograms of TNT and was detonated by remote control as Ghanem's car passed by, wounding 56 people in the process.
Pro-government officials tied the slaying of Ghanem directly to the upcoming parliamentary vote, saying the killing aimed to deprive the ruling coalition of its majority.
Who said Islamist parties can't adapt to democracy?
Ami Isseroff

Majority Parliamentarians Need Comprehensive, Immediate and Direct Protection outside Lebanon: Presidential Poll Must be Conducted at UN


Majority Parliamentarians Need Comprehensive, Immediate and Direct Protection outside Lebanon: Presidential Poll Must be Conducted at UN
By: Elias Bejjani
LCCC Chairman

September 20/07

Syria's terrorist hand has struck again in Lebanon through its fundamentalist mercenaries spread across the territory of Lebanon. New victims fell today, as the car of MP Antoine Ghanem was targeted by an insidious and criminal bomb that killed him and eight other innocent bystanders, all of whom join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of new martyrs on this endless Calvary of the country of the Cedars.

It is no secret who is behind this series of assassinations that is targeting the Members of Parliament of the Majority Bloc. The Syrian devilish objective is no longer in doubt: By killing the free and elected representatives of the sovereign Lebanese people, Syria seeks with its henchmen in Lebanon to prevent the election of a new President of the Republic who is not an agent of Syria as it is the case in Lebanon since 1990.

Today's assassination shows that the Syrian regime has entered a phase of ignorance, desperation, and confusion, after it – and the opposition operating under its aegis in Lebanon – failed to prevent the establishment of the International Tribunal that will look into the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, to fully control the Lebanese regime, and to topple the government of Prime Minister Saniora. The Lebanese people in its entirety and the Free World must at this time become cognizant of the fact that there are no options left for the Syrian regime but killing, murder and terrorism, which then mandates that they be dealt with on that basis, with decisiveness, deterrence and severity, without any compromises or concessions.

The Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council (LCCC) vigorously denounces this new Syrian act of terrorism and fundamentalist criminality, and calls on the Security Council, the Free World, and all honorable Lebanese citizens in the homeland and in the Diaspora to:

1 – Not succumb to the terrorism and criminality of the Syrian-Iranian Axis and stand with strength and steadfastness in the face of the conspiracy it is executing against Lebanon; proceed forward in securing the circumstances and the means to elect a new President according to the texts and articles of the Constitution; and not allow a constitutional vacuum to occur and the chaos that might ensue it, regardless of the difficulties and the challenges.

2 – Place the MPs of the Lebanese Parliamentary Majority under the full, comprehensive and direct international protection, transfer them immediately out of Lebanon , and conduct the elections of a new President at the United Nations.

3 – Posthumously count the votes of the Majority Bloc MPs who have been martyred into the total number of votes of their bloc in the upcoming presidential elections, since the objective of their assassinations is to deny them the exercise of their constitutional rights, derail the free Lebanese decision-making, and ensure the failure of the Cedars Revolution.

Background/Desperate Enemies Continue to Assassinate Democracy in Lebanon
Wednesday, 19 September, 2007
Beirut - News Agencies/Anti Syrian MP Antoine Ghanem was murdered on Wednesday, just days away from the parliamentary elections to appoint Lebanon's next president. 9 others were killed, and over 50 wounded. A powerful blast that ripped through Ghanem's car in the east Beirut Sin el-Fil suburb, in what appears to be a bloody scheme to strip the Anti Syrian March 14 coalition of its parliamentary majority just six days before a scheduled session to elect a new president.
Antoine Ghanem was the eighth member of the anti-Syrian majority to be assassinated since the 2005 murder of former  premier Rafiq Hariri.
A 40-kilogram strong car bomb explosion shattered Ghanem's black Chevrolet Sedan as it drove in the plush suburb, killing him and eight other people, including his driver and an unidentified person who was sitting next to the slain MP on the back seat of the vehicle. Two of the deputy's bodyguards were among the dead, according to Ghanem's daughter, Mounia. Tongues of flame shot up from the wreckage of Ghanem's car and at least eight other vehicles as fire fighters combated the blaze and ambulances evacuated at least 47 wounded people to nearby hospitals. The powerful explosion, which echoed across the Lebanese capital, shattered glass windows in Sin el-Fil and the plush suburb of Horsh Tabet. The crime was committed three months after a similar car bomb explosion on June 14 which claimed the life of MP Walid Eido. Ghanem, 64, returned to Beirut from safe haven in Abu Dhabi two days ago.

**Elias Bejjani
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)

LCCC Web Site
CLHRF Website

The Threat of al Qaeda and its Allies in Lebanon

One would have expected a more sophisticated analysis of al-Qaeda in Lebanon from the Besa center. The main point about al-Qaeda in Lebanon is not that they are there,  but that they are there apparently at the behest of the Syrians and to some extent the Hezbollah. The "other main point" is that their challenge to Lebanese authority was met with vigor and decisiveness, and put the Lebanese army on the map as a force for the central government and legitimacy in Lebanon. This "analysis" missed both those points.
It is hard to imagine that anyone gets into Lebanon if the Syrians do not want them in Lebanon. The connection of Fatah al-Islam to Syria is pretty well established. Similarly, only a child could imagine that al-Qaeda could be operating in southern Lebanon without cooperation of the Hezbollah and the Syrians.
It remains to be seen if the Syrians can control the genie they unleashed. On the other hand, the prompt and decisive action of the Lebanese army, on a scale and with a cruelty that Israel could never be allowed, may discourage such attempts in the future. The following statement is certainly silly, if not worse:
The fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah al Islam poses a serious threat to the fragile stability of the Lebanese political structure.
No - the challenge to Lebanese army posed a serious threat, that's true enough The decisive liquidation of Fatah al Islam and the fact that Hezbollah and Syria had no choice but to acquiesce in it, is about the only good news there has been for the Lebanese government and its legitimacy in a long time. It is proof that the Lebanese government can function.
Ami Isseroff


Executive Summary: Not only do radical Shi'ites threaten the stability of the fragile Lebanese political system, but al Qaeda-backed Sunnis pose a significant threat. The recent fighting between the Lebanese army and the al Qaeda-affiliated Fatah al Islam organization in Nahr al Bared in north Lebanon, and the attacks against UNIFIL forces in south Lebanon, reflect the challenges of radical jihadi Sunni Islam on the stability of the country and the region. The Lebanese government's ability to face the challenge of al Qaeda appears limited, with the degree of its success largely dependant on international support and the consent of local power brokers such as Hizballah and the Palestinians.


Al Qaeda-affiliated organizations emerged in Lebanon after the end of the jihad (holy war) against the Soviets in Afghanistan. The radical Sunni Islamic organizations in Lebanon were affiliated with the Salafi Jihadist School, and were involved in terror activities against Western targets in Lebanon and in inter-Lebanese power struggles.

The occupation of Iraq by the coalition forces in 2003 gave al Qaeda and other "global jihad" organizations the opportunity to infiltrate Iraq and start a holy war against these coalition forces. Abu Musa'ab al Zarqawi, the al Qaeda commander in Iraq, extended the operational capabilities of his organization to other countries in the region using their territory for building infrastructures, as transit for mujahidin (Islamic fighters) on their way to Iraq and as theaters or targets for terror attacks.

Lebanon was one of the countries that al Qaeda used to recruit volunteers, to conduct terror attacks against Western targets in Lebanon and to operate from their state against Israel. The war between Israel and the Hizballah in summer 2006 gave al Qaeda the opportunity to offer support to Hizballah and to express its solidarity with the people of Lebanon. When the war was over, al Qaeda became a key hardline actor  against the agreement between Lebanon (Hizballah) and Israel.

On the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al Zawaheiri, called on the Lebanese to reject the UN Resolution 1701 that brought an end to the month long war between Israel and Hizballah. Zawaheiri said the Lebanese should not "bow to Western pressure" and called on them to organize a "popular holy war against Israel and the West. The greatest catastrophe in Resolution 1701," he said, "is that it recognizes the state of Israel and isolates the mujahidin in Palestine from the Muslims of Lebanon."

Since the 2003 war in Iraq and the withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon, Syria has adopted a policy of indirect support for the jihadi insurgency in Iraq and Lebanon, as a part of an initiative to destabilize the "new orders" in both states.

This article analyzes the growing threat of al Qaeda-affiliated organizations in the Lebanese theater: the confrontation between Fatah al Islam and the Lebanese army; the attacks against UNIFIL in south Lebanon and the rocket attacks against Israel. The allies of al Qaeda are operating simultaneously to destabilize the internal fragile political system of Lebanon and the implementation of UN Resolution 1701 by hitting UNIFIL and Israeli targets. Their intent is to escalate the conflict between Israel and Lebanon.

Fatah al Islam vs. the Lebanese Army

Fatah al Islam is considered by some Lebanese security officials to be a radical Palestinian group with links to al Qaeda; an organization with similar tactics and doctrine. The organization is far from being an ordinary armed Palestinian militia. Only part of its members are Palestinians and the rest originate from other Muslim countries, some of them jihadi veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The leader of the group is Shaker al Abassi, a Palestinan with links to al Qaeda. Abassi has spent three years in a Syrian jail on charges of smuggling weapons and ammunition to Jordan. He was sentenced to death in Jordan for involvement in the killing of the US diplomat Laurance Foley in 2002. Abassi was suspected of having links with Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who stood behind the Foley assassination.

The fighting between Fatah al Islam and the Lebanese army started on May 20, 2007, when police surrounded a militant occupied apartment in Tripoli as part of efforts to track down suspects in a bank robbery. The militants resisted arrest by police, sparking a gun battle that spread to surrounding streets.

The battle moved from the streets of Tripoli to the Palestinian Nahr al Bared refugee camp, the stronghold of Fatah al Islam militants. During the first weeks of the confrontation, the Lebanese army did not enter the camp because of the virtual extra-territorial status that Palestinian camps in Lebanon enjoyed since the Cairo agreement.

However, later the Lebanese army brought reinforcements and held the Nahr al Bared camp under siege. Most of the Palestinians managed to flee the camp but a few thousand of its 40,000 inhabitants remained.

The refusal of Fatah al Islam fighters to surrender forced the Lebanese army to enter the camp and to fight the militants within the built up area, with limited success. After heavy helicopter and artillery bombardment on Fatah al Islam positions, they asked for a ceasefire to evacuate the families of its combatants. On August 25, 2007, 25 women and 38 children, including al Abbasi's wife and son were evacuated from the Nahr al Bared camp, but shortly after that both sides renewed the fighting. It ended, however, on September 2, 2007 with the occupation of the camp by the Lebanese army. More than 222 people, including 163 Lebanese troops, were killed during the standoff, but al Abbasi fled the camp that same night.

The fighting between the Fatah al Islam and the Lebanese army is the country's worst internal violence since the 1975-90 Civil War, and constitutes a most significant challenge to the legitimacy of the Lebanese government.  

The Attacks Against UNIFIL in South Lebanon

On June 24, 2007, six UNIFIL soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb as their vehicle passed by in the Marjayoun-Al Khiam valley in south Lebanon. No one claimed responsibility for the attack but Lebanese security sources linked it to al Qaeda-affiliated organizations, such as the Fatah al Islam.

In an audio message on July 15, 2007, Ayman al Zawaheiri praised the June 24 attack as "a response against those invading Crusader forces who were occupying a beloved part of the land of Islam." That same day, another UNIFIL vehicle was slightly damaged by an explosive device in the area of the Qasmiyeh Bridge in south Lebanon. Again, no one claimed responsibility for the attack, but it appears al Qaeda-related.

Rocket Attacks Against Israel

On December 27, 2005, seven "Grad" 107 mm rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel. Two of them fell in the town of Kiryat Shmona, causing minor damage and the rest fell in open areas. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility.
On June 16, 2007, three Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon landed near the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona. A fourth rocket failed to fire and was dismantled by the Lebanese army. The launch sites were near the town of Marjayoun in south Lebanon. Hizballah quickly denied responsibility for the attack and Lebanese sources claimed that al Qaeda-affiliated radical Palestinians carried out the attack.

Al Qaeda and its allies often don't claim responsibility for terror attacks immediately (even after the Sept 11 attacks), but they leave fingerprints that identify the attacks with the organization. Lebanese and other Middle Eastern security sources believe that both the attacks against UNIFIL and Israel are part of a long-standing initiative of al Qaeda and its allies to fight the infidels on the soil of Lebanon and to open a new frontier against Israel.


The Lebanese arena constitutes a relatively comfortable operating space for radical Islamic organizations affiliated with al Qaeda. The weakness of the central government, the religious and political diversity, and the attempts of outsiders to meddle in Lebanese affairs all come together to create the restless simmering pot which is Lebanon.

The fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah al Islam poses a serious threat to the fragile stability of the Lebanese political structure. The Lebanese government has received pledges of support - military, financial and political - from the US, France, the Arab League and from mainstream Palestinian movements who fear that the actions of Fatah al Islam will damage their cause. The results of the current confrontation between the Lebanese government and Fatah al Islam will have significant impact on the internal political structure of Lebanon and the stability of the region.

The Israel-Hizballah War in Lebanon (July-August 2006) followed by UN Resolution 1701 has created a new situation in Lebanon. Hizballah has lost part of its control over the southern part of Lebanon with the deployment of the Lebanese army and the UN forces in the South. In contrast with Hizballah's acquiescence to the decisions of the Lebanese government and the UN resolution, al Qaeda and its allies are not committed to the ceasefire agreement with Israel. Zawaheiri has called the Lebanese to organize a "jihad" against Israel and the West, and condemned the UN peacekeepers in Lebanon as enemies of Islam.

For al Qaeda and its supporters in Lebanon, the new environment in the country is a "window of opportunity" to expand their influence and activities against Israel, the UN forces and Western targets in Lebanon. The developments in Lebanon have attracted jihadi elements who are determined to carry their jihad into Lebanon and Syria, ever closer to their prime goal – Israel. The Lebanese government attempts to eliminate al Qaeda's infrastructure and that of its subsidiaries in Lebanon for two main reasons;

1. Fear of the consolidation of radical Islamic elements who would then threaten the stability of the country.
2. The imperative to take steps demonstrating "decisive" activity against terrorism is especially relevant following the American war in Iraq and the pressure of the United States on Syria that led to the withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon.

The entrance of a new radical player into the sensitive and complex area of south Lebanon is enormously disruptive for all sides, and there is a common interest in arresting this development. The success of the Fatah al Islam combatants in confronting the Lebanese army in Nahr al Bared for more than four months will encourage other al Qaeda-affiliated organizations in Lebanon to promote their jihad within the Lebanese theater and against Israel.

The Lebanese government's ability to face the challenge of al Qaeda appears limited, with its success in doing so dependent on international support and the consent of local power brokers such as the Hizballah and the Palestinians, mainly in south Lebanon.

The author holds a Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University and is a senior research fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzeliya. He was the former director of the IDF History Department.

You don't say: Gaza is enemy territory

Israel's security cabinet has declared the Gaza Strip an "enemy entity", opening the way for cuts in fuel and other vital supplies to the territory.
The office of Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, said his security cabinet approved the "enemy entity" classification and there would be "limitations on imports to the Gaza Strip and a reduction in the supply of fuel and electricity".

Well I guess if you have a "government" across the street that has vowed repeatedly to destroy your state, declares that negotiations are a waste of time, insists on a holy war, and keeps lobbing rockets at you, you might be a bit sore too. Those do not seem to be very peaceful gestures.
The reaction of the Hamas is tragicomic:
Hamas issued a statement in response, saying that the security cabinet's announcement on Tuesday amounted to a "declaration of war".
Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said: "It is a declaration of war and continues the criminal, terrorist Zionist actions against our people.

"They aim to starve our people and force them to accept humiliating formulas that could emerge from the so-called November peace conference," Barhoum said, referring to the US-sponsored meeting expected to be held in two months.
"Humiliating formulas" refers to recognition of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, and abandonment of the genocidal program to wipe out the Jewish people.
Hamas and their friends reacted by lobbing more rockets at Israel. The formal declaration gives Israel the right to do things like curtailing imports to Gaza, and even stopping electricity. Among the "rights" claimed by the Hamas is the right to have Israeli electricity to operate the lathes that make the rockets.
Ami Isseroff

Arab States: Peace with Israel will not help USA in Iraq, Iran

A pet theory of the US State Department is that solving the Israeli - Palestininian conflict will magically solve the Israeli-Arab conflict, and that solving both will even more magically solve all the problems of the Middle East, make Wahhabi Sheikhs fall in love with democracy and reduce the price of oil to about 25 cents a barrel. Bikinis will replace Hijabs in Iran, the Persian Gulf will turn into grade A crude oil, the lion will lie down the lamb, and a little assistant undersecretary of state for Middle East Affairs shall lead them.
The upcoming summit conference on the Middle East was designed according to those percepts: the United States would show "progress" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Arabs in turn would help the United States extricate itself from Iraq. The particular idea that the Jews are at fault for the problems of the United States in Iraq was due to the Iraq Study Group report, where it was injected as a last minute afterthought by Ray Close.
There is no longer any need for agents of the World Zionist Conspiracy, A.K.A. "Israel Lobby" to explain that this idea is a fantasy. The idea was just shot down by the Arabs.  According to an AFP article:  
Pro-Western Gulf Arab states do not want the Middle East peace conference called by Washington to be aimed at helping get it out of "the Iraqi impasse," the oil-rich bloc's chief said on Tuesday.

Gulf Cooperation Council member states "welcome any attempt to reach a just and comprehensive solution of the Palestinian issue and settle the Arab-Israeli conflict," Abdulrahman al-Attiyah said in remarks released at
GCC headquarters in Riyadh.

He said he hoped the proposed conference will address core issues and will "not be aimed at linking movement in the Middle East peace process to developments in Iraq in a bid to attract Arab states to a conference whose real goal is to help (the US) get out of the Iraqi impasse."

Attiyah did not elaborate on his suggestion that Gulf monarchies, which have close ties with the United States, fear Washington might use the conference to ease its difficulties in war-torn Iraq, where the continuing insurgency is fueling mounting domestic criticism.
Arab states are not going to be helpful in confronting Iranian nuclear ambitions and mayhem in Iraq either, apparently:
Attiyah also reiterated that Gulf Arab states favour a negotiated settlement to the standoff between Iran and the West over its nuclear programme.

"GCC states don't want to see any brotherly or friendly country subjected to sanctions," he said in a reference to Iran.

They also support "opting for the language of peaceful dialogue to resolve all the problems liable to affect international security and stability," Attiyah added.
One might hope, though probably in vain, that these positions will demolish once and for all the idea that U.S. problems in the Middle East are due to Israel and the Israel lobby, and the even stranger idea that the reactionary and short sighted "pro-Western" regimes of the Gulf states are capable of being, or interested in being, strategic assets except in the sense of providing oil for the highest price the market will bear. The addiction of the United States -- and of the industrialized world-- to oil has caused a dangerous  blind spot concerning the activities of Gulf States rulers in financing radical Madrassahs and fomenting radical Islamism. They are willing to have radical Islamist regimes and to support terror anywhere, as long as it is not in their own country. Likewise, the Sunni Arabs seem reconciled to living under the hegemony of nuclear Iran. Or else, they are playing the old Middle East game of saying what must be said for public consumption, and hoping that the West or Israel will be wise enough to ignore their propaganda and do their dirty work for them. It is not such a far-fetched idea after all. Israel got rid of the threat of the radical Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini Grand Mufti Hajj  for them, Israel got rid of the threat of pan-Arabism for them, and Israel got rid of the Iraqi nuclear reactor. The US has spent billions every year to protect their Sheikhdoms, spent several hundred billions to get rid of Saddam Hussein for them, after first spending hundreds of billions to make Kuwait safe for Sheikhocracy. And in return for all this, almost none of the Arab states have really lifted a finger to support U.S. policy and certainly not to control Palestinian terror or advance a constructive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is more than words.
Ami Isseroff