European Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas Lobby Group Calls Israeli Gaza Action “Target Practice”


 A representative of a European Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas lobbying group has written an article calling the latest Israeli military action in Gaza “target practice.” The article was written by the information officer for the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) and begins:

“November 19, 2012 The recent escalation of violence in Gaza only shows that Tel Aviv is intentionally oblivious to the new ‘dawn’ rising across the Arab world. To explain the escalation of violence in Gaza, Stratfor Global Intelligence claims we should look to October 23 when Israel’s covert air strike against the Yarmouk arms facility in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, destroyed missiles from Iran headed presumably for the sorry Strip. Egypt would then up mediation efforts for a truce on October 25 that were interrupted by smaller militant factions such as PFLP and Islamic Jihad. Whether or not Hamas wanted to reign in those attacks, the Islamic Resistance Movement found itself in the same position as Fatah and Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) used to be when negotiating with Israel and Hamas would launch rocket attacks as the opposition. As mentioned by leading analysts Hussain Agha and Robert Malley: ‘In Palestine, Islamic Jihad is the new Hamas, firing rockets to embarrass Gaza’s rulers; Hamas, the new Fatah, claiming to be a resistance movement while clamping down on those who dare resist.’ This is a simplification, but transmits the point: It’s always easier to be in the opposition, ‘firing’ away.Hamas then tried to coax the smaller militant groups into holding their fire, but Israel now had an excuse to go after Ahmad Jabari, head of Hamas’ militant wing, Izz Al Din Al Qassam Brigades. His targeted assassination on November 14 was reminiscent of the targeted killing of Hamas Minister of Interior, Syed Siam, on January 15, 2009; of Hamas’ co-founder, Abdul Aziz Al Rantissi, on April 17, 2004; of Hamas’ spiritual leader, Shaikh Yassin, on March 22, 2004; and so on…Shortly after killing Jabari, the Israeli air force went on to pinpoint the houses of the Masharawi family and of Salah Jalal Arafat in the Al Zaytoun neighbourhood in eastern Gaza — an 11-month baby, a five-year-old child and a woman were killed — for what? Israel went on to shoot at training sites and fighter movements up and down the Gaza Strip — more deaths ensued and more rockets were fired.

None of this is really news to anyone. This scenario has been rehearsed again and again. Israel has been itching for war with Iran and has been waiting for the occasion to re-engage in Gaza. Israel knew exactly whom it wanted to take out — the other casualties are collateral… This is a warm-up round for Israel; this is just target practice.

Read the rest here.

In September, a post reported that the CEPR office in Gaza was visited by representatives of a German Foundation associated with the country’s Green Party. In March, a post reported that the CEPR issued a statement condemning Israel’s latest military actions in Gaza.

The CEPR Web site describes the organization as “an independent not-for-profit organisation which has been established to promote dialogue and understanding between European, Palestinian and Arab parliamentarians and policy-makers.” Despite its claim of independence, the CEPR is headed by Dr. Arafat Shoukri (aka Arafat Madi, Arafat Madi Shoukri) who is also the executive director of the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) in the U.K. The PRC has strong ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood and two PRC directors are also directors of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), generally regarded as part of the UK. Muslim Brotherhood. The PRC is also listed as an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) dominated by UK. Muslim Brotherhood groups. PRC activities are frequently promoted by the MAB, MCB, and other U.K Brotherhood organizations. PRC director Ghassan Four is also a Trustee of INTERPAL, a key member of the Union of Good and part of the Muslim Brotherhood Hamas fund-raising network . PRC director Zaher Birawi is a Trustee of Education Aid for Palestine (EAP), also a part of the Union of Good. Mr. Birawi is also head of programming for Al-Hiwar TV which frequently features MB/Hamas individuals and organizations and was founded by Azzam Al-Tamimi, a U.K Muslim Brotherhood leader and close to Hamas. An Israeli web site, known to be close to Israeli military intelligence, has reported that Mr. Birawi, along with another PRC Trustee are “past Hamas operatives who found refuge in Britain in the early nineties.” Dr. Shoukri is also the chairman of the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG) which was the main organizer of the unsuccessful Second Gaza Flotilla and which operates from the same address and has the same telephone as the PRC. The CEPR appears to operate largely as a lobbying group at the EU and has accompanied EU lawmakers on trips to Gaza.

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