Friday, June 30, 2006

Juan Cole watch (1)

This will become a regular feature here as we point out the inanities, slanders and sometimes anti-Semitism of the head of the Middle East Studies Association (an academic discipline that has basically "gone native" and would hardly be missed).

Our Hero assures us, in his never-ending vigilance against all misdeeds, that the poor dear Palestinians have gone without electricity ("what did the children do to deserve this," he asks. A: Shit like this). Even worse, he snorts, Hamas probably had nothing to do with the capture of Cpl. Gilad Shalit:

The likelihood is that the captors of the Israeli soldier are freelancers. This wasn't something plotted out by the Haniyeh government ...

Well, Juan. Hosni Mubarak disagrees with you. He seems to think Hamas had something to do with it, and says he successfully negotiated the Israeli soldier's release with Hamas (which kinda presupposes that Hamas would actually have Cpl. Shalit, or have sufficient control over those who do, to deliver him.)

In remarks published Friday, Mubarak told the pro-government Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that "Egyptian contacts with several Hamas leaders resulted in preliminary, positive results in the shape of a conditional agreement to hand over the Israeli soldier as soon as possible to avoid an escalation. But agreement on this has not yet been reached with the Israeli side."

Whom to believe ... the president of Egypt or a conspiracy-minded crank? We report. You decide.

UPDATE: Well, apparently Hamas itself (or to be more precise, its military wing) says it's holding the Israeli soldier hostage. Here from AP:

Early Monday, Hamas' military wing — one of the three groups holding Shalit — issued a statement giving Israel until 6 a.m. Tuesday (11 p.m. EDT Monday) to start freeing the prisoners. The other two groups are also Hamas-linked.

Whom to believe about Hamas ... Hamas or Juan Cole ... decisions, decisions ...

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