Of course that Osama Bin Laden was not alone in running the show, and Al-Zawahiri ,his second in commad and chief of Operatioons for Al-Qaeda, is taking over. Many actually claim that Osama Bin Laden was sold out because at this point he was worth more as a Martyr to the cause than as an absentee leader because Al-Zawahiri was really the one in control. They may or may not be right...time will tell.
On another front, the recent agreement between Hamas and the PLO appears to take a new twist. For weeks now, there has been a Facebook page calling for a third Intifadah to start on May 15th, the Gregorian calendar anniversary of Israeli independence that the Palestinians mark as "Nakba" (The catastrophe). At the same time, Arab Israeli lawyers are petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court to annul a law passed earlier this year in the Knesset that fines Israeli municipalities that support and/or organize events marking the "Nakba". The law is known as "The Nakba Law".
According to the Facebook page, the day will be marked by a mass march of Palestinians and sympathizers in the West Bank and surrounding Arab countries into Israel, embarrasing the Jewish State in the best of cases and provoking a violent response that will draw international condemnation at the worst. This is part and parcel of the PLO strategy leading to the UN General Assembly in September where the Palestinians will ask for a UN Resolution recognizing an independent Palestinian State unilaterally, therefore making further negotitations with Israel unnecessary...The Hamas-PLO agreements appears to be part of the preparations for the May 15th showdown. Should this prove to be true, the diplomatic and security consequences for Israel are immeasurable, and Mahmoud Abbas will be handed victory on a silver platter with Israel's head on it.
While many European countries are wavering in their support for a UN resolution recognizing "Palestine" come September because of the Hamas-PLO agreement and insist that Hamas should not be welcome into a Palestinian government, a potential showdown on May 15 of the type described would force them to support the resolution. Why? - several possible reasons:
a) The strategy strongly resembles Ghandi's strategies in India, thus triggering the "Western guilt" over its Imperialist past.
b) An Israeli crackdown - practically inevitable in such conditions- will trigger worldwide "anger" among Muslims similar to the Cartoon riots that followed the Danish publications of cartoons showing the Prophet Mohammed. With growing Muslim populations in almost every European country, there will be many domestic considerations to take into account.
c) Europe is still dependent on Arab Oil. While the Northern Sea is providing today a larger share of European needs, the continent still depends on Oil imports from the Middle East.
d) The Obama administration strategy of supporting pro-Democracy movements in the Arab world might have painted the US into a corner. The West might have to deliver support for the Palestinian initiative in exchange for a democratization in the Arab world supported by its Arab allies. This might also be a way to keep some of these allies, such as the Saudi Royal family, in power.
e) A very important factor for the West to consider come September, will be the Egyptian elections that month which still have the potential to put the Muslim Brotherhood in power - the same Muslim Brotherhood from which Hamas was born, and the same Muslim Brotherhood that denounced the US for the killing of "Sheikh Bin Laden, a Holy warrior for Islam". If Egypt goes Islamic, the consequences for the West, but particularly for Israel, could be disastrous.
As Jews we recently commemorated Yom HaShoah, and we keep reminding the world "Never Again". We actually do a good job in calling attention to other genocides going on in our world today, from Darfur to Bosnia, to Rwanda, to Tibet and beyond. But "Never Again" also means "Never Again" against the Jewish people. We need to stand as one in support of Israel because the fate of the Jewish State and the fate of Jewish People are intertwined and interdependent. Wherever Israel goes, the Jewish People will follow.
On June 5th, the community will travel to NYC to the Annual Salute to Israel Parade. Check details on our website at http://www.jewishdutchess.org and join us. As we stand for others, let us also stand for ourselves.