Sunday, August 27, 2006

Government By Gangster

The kidnapping of FOX News journalist Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig represented something at least unusual. Prior kidnappings of Westerners in Gaza were short lived, but the two journalists were held for several days, and were even subjected to a forced conversion. The internecine feuds driving Gaza politics are responsible for this strange kidnapping case.

In its broadcasts, Fox News often portayed the Hamas militants as terrorists, but the kidnapping of the two journalists, sources tell TIME, had nothing to do with Fox's perceived pro-Israel stance or a serious attempt, as the captors first demanded, of swapping the pair for Muslim prisoners in the U.S. Instead, the two newsmen were more likely the victims of a vicious feud between various Palestinian militias.

Palestinian security sources close to the negotiators told TIME that the two Fox Newsmen - reporter Steve Centanni, 60, from Washington, D.C., and New Zealand cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36 - were kidnapped from Gaza to embarrass Haniyeh's government. The militants, who earlier identified themselves as members of the previously unknown Holy Jihad Brigades, were enraged with fellow Hamas militants because they too had joined in the daring capture on June 25th of Corp. Shalit, in which Palestinian gunmen tunneled under a wall and attacked an Israeli army post. But according to these security sources, the militant groups fell out after Hamas' military wing took control of Shalit and elbowed the other co-conspirators aside.

In revenge, these militants, who belong to a splinter group of the late Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, struck back by seizing the two journalists, these sources said.

The Palestinian pseudo-state is governed by gangsters, and this fact alone makes their government one with which no deal can be struck. I don't know what can be done instead, since the Palestinians are such the darlings of the international community and the U.N., but we ought to at least recognize their government and political culture for what it is: barbarous collections of armed thugs, driven by irrational hatreds and preoccupations.

The problem that follows from the kidnapping is the price that Ismail Haniyeh had to pay to secure the journalists' release: the hard line militants will now have a say in whether Gilad Shalit is released.

Also mentioned in the TIME article is the air strike against a car carrying various Palestinian journalists:
The reporters' car was clearly marked "TV" and the crew were filming the destruction of an Israeli air raid when the missile struck. The Israeli military said the journalists' vehicle was acting suspiciously, a claim that the Foreign Press Association in Tel Aviv dismissed as "outrageous."

Given the outright lies in "news" stories from both Lebanon and Gaza, and the willingness of terror groups and militants to use civilians as cover for their attacks, I think the notion that the Israeli claim is "outrageous" is outrageous itself. The Israeli claim may be true, it may be untrue, but unbelievable it is not.

The strenuous response from the Foreign Press Association suggests they also think the military's claim may prove true. In other words, methinks the Muslim doth protest too much.

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