In this issue:

Cheney's Program To Assassinate Palestinian Leaders Exposed

Yeshiva Attack Could Ignite Messianic Struggle

Olmert: Syrian Talks Worth Considering

Study: Gaza Humanitarian Situation Worst Since 1967

From Volume 7, Issue 11 of EIR Online, Published Mar. 11, 2008
Southwest Asia News Digest

Cheney's Program To Assassinate Palestinian Leaders Exposed

March 3 (EIRNS)—Nearly one year ago, in its March 23, 2007 issue, EIR exposed what is only coming out in "establishment" media now. The EIR article by Jeffrey Steinberg, said, about the near civil war between Hamas and Fatah: "Reportedly, in the course of the combat, Hamas fighters got their hands on documents, showing that some Fatah military commanders, including Mohammed Dahlan, had drawn up hit-lists of Hamas parliamentarians. Other documents reportedly pointed to the involvement of U.S. National Security Council official Elliott Abrams, in the efforts to provoke Fatah-Hamas bloody conflict. When the confiscated documents were presented to P.A. President Abbas, he was reportedly furious."

Now, in a Vanity Fair feature released today, "The Gaza Bombshell," reporter David Rose reveals that atrocities committed by Fatah Palestinian security officials against Hamas supporters in Gaza, were part of a secret Bush-Cheney Administration plan to foment a civil war in order to overturn the democratic elections that brought a Hamas government into power.

Rose writes: "Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America's behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)

"But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza."

The one major flaw in Rose's article, is that Dick Cheney, who insisted on annihilating Hamas, is erased from the picture. The only mention of Cheney is that his Middle East advisor, David Wurmser, a right-winger has mooted removing all Palestinians from the occupied territories, protested the arming of Fatah, which he hates.

Yeshiva Attack Could Ignite Messianic Struggle

March 7 (EIRNS)—The attack on the Mercaz Harav yeshiva (seminary) in Jerusalem, which left eight students dead, is expected to lead to a major escalation that could spread from Gaza and the West Bank to Lebanon and Syria. The attack took place at the same time that Egypt was trying to mediate a ceasefire; representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were meeting in Egypt at the time.

Mercaz Harav is not just any yeshiva: it is the number one so-called Zionist-nationalist yeshiva, founded in 1924 by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, and his son, Ravvi Zvi Yehuda Kook. Many of the most extreme messianic religious Zionist rabbis came from this yeshiva, and the radical settlement movement Gush Emunim has its roots there.

EIR published a profile of the Merkas Harav yeshiva in its Special Report of December 2000, Who Is Sparking a Religious War in the Middle East? documenting that the "Kook" operation was run from the start by British oligarchical networks.

The March 7 Jerusalem Post points out that this attack was not aimed "at the wider Israeli public, but a strategic attack against a very vocal public who will be demanding action of the government." The Post writes, "Being messianic religious people, the religious Zionists are going to see this attack through the prism of messianic prophecy." Settler radio stations are already talking about the attack in prophetic terms.

The head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Ya'akov Shapira, speaking at the funeral attended by thousands, declared the attack, "a continuation of the 1929 massacres" and added that the "murderers are the Amalek of our day, coming to remind us that Amalek has not disappeared, just changed its appearance." Amalek was the ancient enemy tribe of the Israelites. Shapira went on to say, "The time has come for all of us to understand that an external struggle is raging, and an internal struggle, and everyone believes that hour has come ... for us to have a stronger leadership, a more believing leadership...."

People at the funerals could be hear chanting "death to the Arabs."

Olmert: Syrian Talks Worth Considering

March 6 (EIRNS)—The option of a peace settlement with Syria is still being kept alive in Israel, despite the widespread perception that the Mideast peace effort launched last year at Annapolis, Md. has all but collapsed. At a briefing session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said negotiations with Syria should be seriously considered, "if this would bring an end to its involvement in terrorism and extricate it from the axis of evil."

The Israeli daily Ha'aretz quoted a "senior political source" saying Olmert's statement was "another step forward." Ha'aretz points out that last year, just prior to the Annapolis conference, Olmert had said that "the participation of Syria in the conference could, under certain conditions, bring about a resumption of the negotiations, and this is valuable from Israel's point of view."

Prior to Annapolis, Lyndon LaRouche underscored the importance of Syrian participation, as a first step in opening up peace talks between Israel and Syria, in order to change the regional dynamic in Southwest Asia from one of endless war to peace and regional economic development.

Ha'aretz last week reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recently said he would be willing to meet Olmert in Moscow in order to restart peace talks.

Study: Gaza Humanitarian Situation Worst Since 1967

March 6 (EIRNS)—A new report reveals that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is at its worst point since Israel captured the territory in 1967. More than 1.1 million people, about 80% of the population of Gaza, are now dependent on food aid, as compared to 63% in 2006; unemployment is close to 40%, and almost 70% of the 110,000 workers who were employed in the private sector have lost their jobs.

The 16-page report was sponsored by eight organizations including Amnesty International, CARE U.K., CAFOD, Christian Aid, Médecins du Monde U.K., Oxfam, Save the Children U.K., and Trocaire.

It further reports that hospitals are suffering from power cuts of up to 12 hours a day, and the water and sewage systems are close to collapse, with 40-50 million liters of sewage pouring into the sea daily.

The report called on the British government to pressure Israel. There is no mention of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who as special UN envoy on aid to the Palestinians, has done absolutely nothing to pressure Israel. In fact, in the midst of the worst Israeli-Gaza crisis in years, Blair is currently on a personal money-making speaking tour of the United States.

All rights reserved © 2008 EIRNS