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    Don Radlauer

    A couple of very minor quibbles regarding the various terror groups:

    1) Fatah may have been nominally Marxist when that was the way to obtain Soviet backing, but it's very doubtful that the group was ever Marxist in any meaningful sense.

    2) Palestinian Islamic Jihad doesn't have a social-welfare network; Hamas does. This is one of the several reasons that Hamas is a much larger organization than PIJ. PIJ does get a lot of its funding from Iran (directly or indirectly), and since Iran is Shiite and the Palestinians are Sunni, this may limit its "street appeal" somewhat.

    3) Hamas gets a lot of its funding from Saudi Arabia; just yesterday, in fact, it was announced that an East Jerusalem Arab had been arrested for being the contact-person between the Saudis and Hamas in the West Bank.

    Saudia Arabi, Iran, and others in the Middle East contribute to Hamas and PIJ in large part because what most terrifies these governments is the prospect of a democratic, liberal, secular Palestine. From their standpoint, Israel is a beachhead of Western cultural influence in (or, in their terms, warfare on) the Middle East; and the presence of Israelis who speak Arabic and Palestinians who speak Hebrew and English facilitates the spread of "Western poison" to their societies. They know that peace with Israel - especially a warm peace, and especially especially a warm peace including a secular-liberal-Westernized Palestine - would soon lead to the elimination of existing entrenched power elites in the Arab/Islamic world.

    Judy

    Don-- thanks for these helpful and knowledgeable comments. I agree, I should have been more specific re Fatah. But there are strong Marxist elements in the way it operates, eg Writers' Union, trade unions & NGOs producing identical "calls for solidarity" for international boycotts. Plus they do use political rhetoric re oppression that comes straight from the Communist International Guide for Dummies. The issue is more that this has been modified and partly overlaid by the traditional clan loyalty networks etc. Or that's how it looks to me. In the context of the UK, the PSC operates almost indistinguishably from a traditional Marxist solidarity movement.

    You are right in saying only Hamas has the welfare network.

    As for the funding, what you say is of course true-- but that makes it all the more sombre, since all these very diverse dictatorships have a huge stake in investing their enormous resources in support of Palestinian terrorism and irredentism.

    On that basis, I argue that the issue is really not one of needing the Israelis to wake up and, by experiencing friendly encounters with Palestinians, come to see that peace is readily on offer, if only they'd give up on their "unreasonable" and "hysterical" fears.

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