Tag Archives: Hamas

ROCKETS FROM GAZA

BLOG 408 October 29, 2018

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST ~ Each week Robert L. Wise, PhD, explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

The terrorist organization Hamas knows it has run out of options in Gaza. The city remains a pile of broken cement structures that were never repaired after the last incursion by the Israeli after a season of prolonged rocket attacks coming out of the Gaza area. The leaders of Hamas pocketed the rebuilding money that came in from other Arab sources and left the citizens to live in the rubble.

On the morning of October 17, a morning rocket was fired at the Israeli city of Beersheeba. Such had not happened since early August. Almost immediately Hamas issued a statement saying “we didn’t do it.”  Supposedly, Hamas wanted continued calm. Interesting.

If the rockets were not fired by Hamas, then the situation demonstrates the weakness of Hamas to control the Gaza Strip.  Moreover, it suggests that dangerous weapons are also in the hands of other groups. This picture portrays turmoil on top of chaos.

In contrast to Hamas claims, for the last 7 months there have been repeated clashes at the Gaza border.  During the 30 weeks of struggle, 200 citizens of Gaza were killed and thousands wounded. At the same time the Israel Air Force targeted radicals sending incendiary balloons over the tall petition wall that have burned half of the trees and green areas adjacent to the border. If you are one of those folks who keeps count of deaths in this struggle, the figures aren’t good for the Palestinians.

You haven’t heard much about these current episodes because of the on-going headline stories about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the conflict with Saudi Arabia. Consequently, the Gaza struggle is now seen in a more narrow view. Nevertheless, the October 17 rocket firing could be a prelude to a dangerous response. Israeli politicians are currently pushing for stronger government action. Another such incident could trigger a massive response from Israel.

Keep your eyes open. There’s surely more to come.

We have a new website ~ THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY ~ Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith.  The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN. Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible Lands, Israel, middle east

ISRAEL AND HAMAS

Blog 343 March 27, 2017

I am often asked if I foresee a military conflict on the horizon for Israel with the militants. Answering that question correctly is like guessing what outlandish “tweet” we will get next from President Trump. Unpredictability seems to be the new order of the day. However, we can discover a few certainties that are probabilities.

Hamas has just appointed Yahya Sinwar as Gaza’s new leader. He succeeds Khaled Mashaal who has his eyes on taking over the PLO and replacing Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinian president. With no specific title, Sinwar will become the de facto head of Gaza. As you may know, the city of Gaza is still little more than a heap of rubble. As for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the election of Sinwar is another nail in the coffin. When Trump and Netanyahu met in February, Trump’s statements only added to the Middle-East chaos.

The Jerusalem Report, March 6, 2017, states that Sinwar knows the Islamist Palestinian movement is under full siege by Israel and Egyptian blockades will continue. As the same time, the rift between the PLO and Hamas is predicted to widen. He will have to work within that framework. Before any military action can occur, Sinwar must collaborate with colleagues in a collective and elaborate process. At this point, columnist Yossi Melman does not believe that Hamas wants a military engagement anywhere in the near future.

And who is Yahya Sinwar?

The former director of both the political arm and the military wing of Hamas, he could be compared to a general. For his murderous terrorist’s acts, Israel sentenced him to four life terms. During his time in prison, he rose to prominence among the Palestinian inmates. From his cell, he communicated with Hamas leaders the idea of using prisoners as “bargaining chips” in prisoner swaps with captured Israeli citizens and soldiers. After 22 years in prison, he was released in the controversial exchange for Gilad Schalit.

Once released, Sinwar told a gathering of 200,000 Gazans that he stood for uncompromising military confrontation with Israel. It now appears he will press for better relations with Iran in hopes of collecting more money and arms. Even in Hamas terms, Sinwar is considered an extremist. Of course, he rejects all attempts at compromise with Israel and the PLO. His election reflects the ascendency of the military wing of Hamas.

Shaul Mishal, an expert in Palestinian politics, believes Sinwar will be a new test for Israel’s political and military leaders. They know he remains more than ready to resort to violence.

Stay tuned. More to come.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible Lands, Egypt, Gaza, Israel, middle east

A HARD LOOK AT THE ISRAEL – PALESTINE PROBLEM

BLOG 303 May 23, 2016

With the outrageous rhetoric of Donald Trump and the Clinton and Sanders deadlock, the media has lately said little about the continuing struggle in the Holy Land. But we need to know more.

Knife attacks by Palestinians inside Israel have subsided somewhat and Israel has become more competent at stopping lone wolf assaults before they happen. However, more is going on behind the scenes.

Why should you care? Because any settlement (or lack of it) has consequences for Europe, America, and the rest of the Middle East. The festering problem of the Palestinians has infected many other Arab communities. Prospects for genuine peace across the Middle East depend on some form of reconciliation.

Why can’t this problem get solved? Because Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas don’t want it done. Netanyahu rightly says the Palestinians won’t recognize the right of Israel to exist. He fears the creation of another armed Arab country with guns aimed at Israel. An independent Palestine could become another Islamic dictatorship. On the other hand, Abbas’s attempts to achieve statehood through diplomacy and wiggling his way into the United Nations have totally sunk. Because Abbas has continually failed, he has lost credibility at home. What can he achieve now by renewed negotiations with Israel?

Many voices continually speak of the “almost” collapsing Palestinian Authority (PA). While this is probably unlike, it reflects the deterioration in the West Bank. If the PA did implode, Israel would be forced to step in to restore order and take over a virtually bankrupted state. The headaches for Israel would be endless. Abbas understands this and the possibility gives him some leverage.

The big problem for the Palestinians is leadership. Abbas is 80-years old. A decade ago he was elected to a four-year term and there’s been no election since. He is now seen as an authority with no authority. When his leadership has been threatened, Abbas’s response has generally been suppression. Among the names at the top of today’s list to succeed him is Marwan Barghoutin. The big problem is that he is currently serving five life sentences from an Israel Court for leading two uprisings and for murder. He’s a little like electing Al Capone for Attorney General. Not much promise there!

A recent poll by the Ramallah based Arab World for Research and Development indicated that today the Palestinians have little faith in violent resistance and are more concerned about personal income and safety. In the Gaza Strip’s summer war, Hamas lost 2,100 Palestinians while Israel lost only 67 soldiers. The Palestinians are beginning to figure out that violence goes nowhere – but to a cemetery.

So, keep your eye on what Mahmoud Abbas does next (if anything). Hopeful Palestine will not be plunged into period of chaos. At this point, there are no promises.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Israel, middle east, Palestinians, Peace

ANOTHER INTIFADA? PART 2

BLOG 276 October 26, 2015

Let’s take another look at the current unrest in Jerusalem and the Old City. Israelis fear another intifada could explode – and it might!
The quagmire continues as Israel won’t budge in negotiations and the Palestinians won’t lead. The inability of either side “to give” has created a nightmare. As a result, the frustrated Palestinians attack with knives and stone throwing while the Israeli’s shoot back with bullets. A few Israelis get knifed and a much larger number of Palestinians get killed. How can we understand such extremes?
Israel won’t comment on their secret talks with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. The Palestinians are completely left out of these negotiations which only frustrate them further. While Hamas screams and hollers anti-Semitic threats, it appears they are actually negotiating an acceptance of a 10-year ceasefire with Israel. Their position reflects what the Prophet Muhammad did with a time-limited truce with a powerful Quraysh tribe in 628. Even in 1997, the founder of Hamas offered Israel a 30-year hudna. The facts suggest that Hamas needs time to rebuild their military strength and get their act back together after the drubbing they took in Gaza that a year later is little more than a pile of broken cement.
From the Palestinian point of view, Hamas has no business or authority to make and sign any agreements with Israel. PLO President Mahmoud Abbas is also left out in the cold. Turmoil within the Arab world is increased because Abbas does not trust Hamas leadership. He believes Hamas is out to create a separate independent state in Gaza and that Israel is willing to help them do so. The issues of expanding Jewish settlements, Palestinian refugees, and East Jerusalem would not be touched. Once again, the Palestinians have the door slammed in their faces.
Netanyahu currently has no intention of agreeing to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the l967 lines or granting sovereignty over East Jerusalem and control of the Temple Mount. Such a hard-line position could provide the fuel for a much larger Jewish-Muslim war. The recent violence by Palestinians extremists must strike the match that sets off the explosion.
And what would happen? As the matter now stands, the Israeli’s would kill a multitude of the Palestinians. The Arabs know this, but believe their sacrifice would somehow be worth the effort. Suicide-bombers have come to this conclusion already. When you add all this up, the equation equals disaster for the Arabs, but they don’t seem to get it or be willing to make adjustments for a settlement. They have already blown off everything from the Oslo Accords to the 2008 offer of Prime Minister Ehud Olmer’s offer of a Palestinians state along the l967 lines. Their intransient position sounds like madness.
Such madness is what starts wars.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Israel, Judaism, middle east, Palestinians

ANOTHER INTIFADA?

BLOG 275 October 19, 2015

With stabbings and shootings filling the streets of Jerusalem, is another war with the Palestinians underway? The volcano of Palestinian anxiety and anger is certainly rumbling and could erupt explosively. Blood shed in the streets of Jerusalem is a frightening omen for the future.

Why would people armed only with knives risk their lives against people with guns? What is going on?

Last year I was in East Jerusalem and talked with some of the Arab citizens who live there. They complain of prejudicial treatment, check-points in and out of their area, and although some are citizens of Israel, they are treated with prejudice. Equally bad, the PLO offices in Ramallah do nothing to help their citizens who claim East Jerusalem as their capital city.

The issue is personal and profound. The Palestinians Center for Public Opinion found that 61% of Palestinians living in Jerusalem support an armed struggle against Israel. Surprisingly, at the same time 52% would rather be Israelis citizens than part of a Palestinian state. Arabs in East Jerusalem live with this strange contradiction.

On the other hand, with knife attacks in their streets and rockets flying out of Gaza, the Israelis don’t believe anything they hear coming out of the West Bank. This week the mayor of Jerusalem called on citizens to visibly carry guns. Sounds like Jerusalem, the city of peace, is turning into Dodge City in 1880!

However, there is more to this story. In the midst of their despair and frustration, the Palestinians know their attacks have a potential to bring international pressure to bear on Israel. For example, the French have just submitted a proposal to the United Nations to bring international observers to the Temple Mount. Prime Minister Netanyahu rejected the idea as “absurd.” Still, it reflects a strategy beyond the knife attacks.

To complicate matters for the Palestinians, Israel has been in secret talks with Hamas to declare a 10-year truce. The truth is that the Gaza strip is a rumbled mess of broken cement one-year after the war and Hamas is in bad shape militarily. Hamas badly needs a breather. On the other hand, PLO leader Abbas doesn’t trust Hamas and believes they are trying to create a separate state in Gaza. Of course, the weak PLO government is no challenge for the Israeli military.

So who negotiates with who? The quagmire continues to rumble along going nowhere while the citizens suffer. In 2000, US president Bill Clinton had Israel and the PLO were on the verge of an agreement when Yasser Arafat simply walked out. Why? His true ultimate object was the entire destruction of Israel. He actually didn’t want a settlement.

Consequently, today no one really wants to talk with anyone else. The frustration boils over in knife attacks in the streets of Jerusalem. No compromises or settlements are even beyond the horizon.

Let us hope the situation doesn’t continue to deteriorate this week. Death doesn’t need another walk down the streets of Jerusalem once more.

2 Comments

Filed under Arabs, Israel, middle east, Palestinians

THE ISSUE IS SOVEREIGNTY; NOT SEMATICS

BLOG 227 – November 24, 2014

It’s been a tough week in the Middle East. The murder of four Jewish worshippers in a synagogue at the hands of knife swinging, cleaver cutting, pistol packing Palestinians has once again set the region on edge. The Palestinian cousins were shot and their houses in East Jerusalem destroyed, but the matter is not settled. Clergy representing Jews, Muslims, and Christians publically met in unison and called for calm. The Greek Patriarch, Latin Patriarch and an Iman from Acre condemned the assault. However, Muslim authorities and senior Israeli rabbis were not present.

The savage pounding Hamas received in Gaza and their precarious political position has caused them to set off such killings as a symbolic gesture making them appear significant and forceful. Of course, the killings are actually a sign of frustration and failure. But symbolic acts are an important part of what keeps the pot boiling in Israel and Palestinian territories.

The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) has just declared they will change the name of the Temple Mount to the Al Aqsa Mosque or the Noble Sanctuary.  The new declaration was the result of rioting and unrest around the Temple Mount area. Apparently, the PLO believes a name change will support their cause.

The problem is that the issue is not semantics, but sovereignty.

The Muslims and Jews have two different interpretations of what this important religious area is about. Muslims say a Jewish temple never stood there, but Mohammed and his horse leaped into heaven from where the Dome of the Rock stands. The Jews say two Temples existed there centuries before Mohammed was born. Part of the problem for the Muslims is that the earliest claims for Mohammed’s ascent to heaven were prompted by his recognition of the holiness of the two temples that once stood there. Today, Muslims would attempt to deny and suppress that story. These two symbolic viewpoints are at the heart of the recent violence.

Muslims are fearful that the Jews will claim the sacred area, tear down the Dome of the Rock, and rebuild the Temple. Probably, the motivation for the two Palestinian killers attack arose from this fear.

While the Netanyahu government will never contemplate or condone such an attack, there are Jewish leaders who favor such an idea. It is now claimed that some members of the Israeli Parliament are prepared to sponsor legislation to rebuild the Third Temple on the site of the Dome of the Rock. Muslims believe the Jews are counting the days until this occurs.

America went through an apocalyptic mindset in the 80’s anticipating the world would enter its final days by the year 2,000. When the clock kept ticking and nothing happened, that viewpoint virtually disappeared. In these blogs, we have never pandered an apocalyptic perspective because it is speculative. However, significant elements in the Jewish world are now embracing such a viewpoint. They believe the reconstruction of the Temple will bring in the Messianic age and the world will embrace their viewpoint. This segment of Judaism is willing to push the issue because they believe it will bring the Messiah.

Behind the semantics and clashing viewpoints is a battle over sovereignty. Who rules? The battle is far from over.

Stay tuned.

Leave a comment

Filed under Israel, middle east, Muslims, Palestinians

THE CONTINUING IMPACT OF TERRORISM

Recently, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations made startling statements about what lies behind much of the terrorism in the Middle East. Ambassador Ron Prosor charged that the aggressive behavior of Hamas was backed and financed by the country of Qatar. Oil-rich Qatar has been spreading its influence by purchasing six American universities, Harrods department store in England, and Paris’ Saint-Germain football team. Prosor said Qatar will buy, bride, or bully its way to whatever it wants, including the 2022 World Cup. Second only to Iran, Qatar is becoming the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism.

The ambassador’s charges throw light on why terrorism continues to be so deadly in the Middle East. For example, during the war in Gaza, the Palestinians Authority confirmed that Hamas activists shot PA Arab supporters in the legs. Hamas imposed house arrest on the PA supporters (who knows for what reason) and then shot them in the legs or arms for failure to comply. In addition, it was charged Hamas had been planning a coup against the PA in the West Bank.  The IDF (Israeli Defense Force) and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested 90 Hamas activists to stop the attempt.

The bottom line is that Hamas will use their own people as human shields, kill indiscriminately, use schools and hospitals to launch rockets while applying the millions they receive from Qatar to built rockets and tunnels for sneak attacks on Israel. Terrorism is a specter of hate, violence, and murder now being financed by the nation of Qatar.

Among the victims of this line of thinking are the Christians in Iraq. For 2,000 years Christianity has maintained a heartland in the Iraqi town of Mosul. The apostles Thomas and Thaddeus are believed to have worked and preached in Iraq that was then known as Assyria. Their ministry preceded the birth of Muhammad by 600 years. As ISIS swept in, the Sunni terrorist group expelled Christians from towns in the surrounding area. Terrorist marked their homes with the Arabic letters nun meaning Nazarene or Christian. Then, the invaders declared the residences “Property of the Islamic State.” In 2013, Baghdad’s Monsignor Pios Cacha predicted religious cleansing would affect the Christians as it had the Jewish community a half century earlier. Iraq had been the homeland of 150,000 Jews. Today, less that ten Jews are in the country.

Westerners find it difficult to grasp how religious faith could be at the heart of a Middle Eastern war. Diversity has been a cornerstone of American society from the beginning where today even bizarre sects are tolerated. Not so in the world of deadly battles between Sunnis and Shi’ites continuing daily. The West must wake up to the fact that countries like Qatar spend their billions to underwrite the conflicts. Whether we like it or not, want to avoid the conflicts like a plague, or are forced to see what we don’t want to recognize, countries like Qatar have pulled us into the struggle. Saudi Arabi and Iran each finance different sides in the conflict. The war goes on.

It’s time to pay attention.

1 Comment

Filed under America, Israel, middle east, Muslims

THE POLITICS OF WAR

BLOG 215 August 25, 2014

The Israeli-Hamas conflict is winding down and we’re talking about the next war? Sounds like media commentators in America speculating about the next presidential election two days after the last election was over. Unfortunately, that’s the way things go in the Middle East.

Both sides are aware that the current conflict will eventually end but the war is not over. The mindless resistance of Hamas continues even though their leadership, rocket launchers, and attack tunnels are being pounded into oblivion. Nevertheless, Israel is already hard at work accessing the conflict and its meaning for the next round.

Here are some of the implications we can ponder.

  1. America came out of this conflict looking even worse than previously viewed by the Israeli population. President Obama and Secretary of Defense Kerry tried to lean on Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop fighting. The implication was that the USA was siding with Hamas. Once again, America failed to grasp the nature of the conflict until it was nearly over. Trying to reverse themselves, American advisers disclaimed the Obama – Netanyahu conversations. Sorry. The damage was done and America is even distrusted more now. In the next conflict, American advice will mean even less.

America must come to understand that economic pressure is not the issue. Hamas has one primary goal –to destroy Israel. Failure to get this point reduces US negotiating to nothing.

  1. If the West backs away from Israel, they will develop new relationships with countries like China, India, Korea, and Russia as well as Japan. Israel will not remain isolated. The West had best pay attention to this fact about their most reliable Allie in the region.
  2. Hamas will claim a victory in the war because their political leaders were not killed. They will also think that without their strong resistence the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) would have penetrated more deeply into the Gaza area. Well, forget that. When the Palestinians figure out the scope of their losses because of Hamas’ strategy, the Hamas propaganda link will sink.

However, expect the propaganda to continue.

4.The current cost to Hamas is great. Israel will not be making any concessions at the bargaining table. The war started with Israel defending itself then two goal evolved: destroying terrorist tunnels and demilitarizing Gaza. Hamas is not going to agree, but their back is to the wall. The point is that attacking Israel hasn’t proved to be a good idea.

  1. Hezbollah is watching. Israel knows the next war may well be with this terrorist organization based in Lebanon. Supposedly, Hezbollah was disarmed after the 2006 war with Israel and left with only 6,000 to 12,000 rockets. That idea was a colossal failure. Today it is estimated they have at least 60,000 rockets and maybe double that number. Intelligence sources indicate they are also developing drones with long range capacity. It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out the implications of their stockpile of weapons.

The West has believed that co-existence is possible. In the Middle East, no one believes this idea to be true. Since Israel has been the main stay of American foreign policy, the next president (whoever that might be) better wake up to how the game is played. Failure to do so will seriously injure America as a real player in a deadly game.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Israel, middle east

TAKING A DEEPER LOOK AT HAMAS AND TERRORISM

BLOG 214 August 18, 2014

The Western world has an important stake in understanding how terrorists operate and where they are going. The threats from ISIS to attack America only heightens the concern that citizens in the USA have about these murderous assault forces. It has been estimated that there are at least 30,000 jihadi fighters in Syria alone. The Al-Qaida movement continues to spawn clones and we need all the information possible on what comes next.

Matters have not gone well for Al-Qaida as of late and even they have rejected the ISIS movement as too violent. The so-called “Arab Spring” put a dent in their strategy that claimed only violence could bring real change. The quest from the populous for greater freedom also slowed their wagon. Today Bin Laden’s successor Ayman Zawahiri is no more than a shadow of the past. However, the Islamic terrorists in other areas have not slowed down.

In fact, the recent military advances of ISIS have even spread concern in Hezbollah, itself  a terrorist organization. Leaders of Hezbollah last week described the radical Isalmist movement as a “monster” that could threaten Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other gulf states. Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah claimed that only Hezbollah kept ISIS from invading Lebanon and pushing to the ocean.Of course Hezbollah has been fighting for Assad in Syria and is backed by Shi’ite Muslim Iran.  Recently, Saudi Arabia deployed 30,000 soliders to its borders with Iraq.  Saudi Arabia is a Sunni Muslim monarch and has been silently supporting the uprising in Syria. The differences between Sunnis and Shi’ites appear insignificant to the West, but they are major factors in the Middle East struggle as the continue killing each other.

Hamas is caught up in the tangle of “who-is-fighting-who” for “what.” Heavily financed by the Gulf Arab state of Qatar of only 2 million people, Hamas received funds through the Muslim Brotherhood movement that viewed Hamas as a Palestinian branch. Sunni oriented Qatar views Shi’ite Iran as its greatest advesary and wants to keep the Iranians off their turf. Consequently, Qatar wants to keep Hamas in the Sunni camp and away from Iran. In the midst of this confusion  now comes Turkey and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan  helping to finance Hamas.

Because Hamas voiced support for Assad’s Syria, they were forced to move out of Damascus and as a result Iran lowered their support for Hamas. The merry-go-round keeps spinning. Sound confusing? It is.

The fundamental issue remains religious differences and where best to pour those billions from oil production to keep the pot boiling.

Now Hama has its back to the wall in Gaza. The Muslim Brotherhood was smashed in Egypt and they are defeated in the Gaza Strip. (Regardless of what they claim.) Unless they agree to a negotiated settlement, the cease fire ended August 18. The PLO and other Arab groups want a settlement; Hamas operates with a suicide mentality. Because Israel won’t budge, Hama is about to get wacked again. Currently, Israel appears to have no strategy for how they will control the Gaza area: dominate  it, de-militarize it, turn it back to the PLO. In an usual move, the European Union condemned Hamas for using citizens as human shields. The foreign ministers of Germany, France, and Italy harshly condemned pro-Palestinian demonstrators. Not good news for Hamas.

Where does Hamas go from here? They won’t quit, but they don’t have much to go on.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, middle east, Muslims

PROBING THE CURRENT ISRAELI – PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

2014 is starting to feel like 1914. (the start of World War I). The smell of smoke is in the air wherever we look from the China Sea to the Ukraine to the Middle East, war or the threat of war, rings through the air.

As the radical militants and jihadist continue to strike, there are important undercurrents in the background that are often not noticed. Such is the case in the on-going war in Gaza. The hidden message in the recent reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas is a case in point and one of the reasons for the continued strikes by Israel. Of course, the fact that Hama fired thousands of rockets on Israel set the stage for the conflict. The refusal to stop and join a cease fire has perpetuated the conflict. The creation of tunnels into Israel to allow terrorist to attack also threw gasoline on the fire.

Hamas’s persistence in firing rockets when the Iron Dome System knocks every one out that comes close to a population center is a tell-tale sign of how Hamas thinks. They believe in bullets and the sacrifice of human life –even when it is their own.

Have you noticed that there have been virtually no Arab responses supporting Hamas from the surrounding countries? The Egyptian government even blamed Hamas and not Israel for dozens of Palestinian deaths. Egypt has kept their border closed, keeping Gaza residents from fleeing to Egypt. As the carnage became worse, a few governments sent out mixed signals that were feeble compared to their screams in other conflicts with Israel.

Within the folds of this silence is a realization of what the reconciliation talks between the PA and Hamas would end up meaning. Hamas has changed its strategy and was using the Hezbollah model from Lebanon. It’s a “bullets plus ballots” approach putting a high emphasis on killing. In Gaza, they maintain 20,000 well-trained military units and security personnel.  Since the June 2007 military takeover of Gaza, Hamas has put 50,000 employees on the public payroll. Hamas has made some shifts to cooperation with the PA, but are actually challenging Fatah in their own backyard. Gaza workshops in turn stepped up production of M-57 missiles.

In other words, Hamas has put more fire-power in the PA and created a greater striking force against Israel. By setting up rockets in residential areas, they seek a propaganda advantage of accusing Israel of attacking women and children. The Israelis aren’t buying it and are destroying all possible sites. Israel will either stop them now or pay the price later.

These adjustments have been spurred by set-backs that directly or in-directly affected Gaza. The loss of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt as well as the cessation of smuggling arms through the Sinai Peninsula hurt Hamas. The decline of financial subsidies from Iran and Qatar blew another log on the fire. Equally bad was the growing resentment of Gaza citizens because of unemployment, hardships, and constant repression. The huge losses in the current warfare won’t help their standing. Moreover, as Israel pounds Gaza militants into the sand, the Israelis are destroying the “bullets and ballots” strategy. Moreover, they are wiping out thousands of rockets and attack tunnels.

The war goes on. Hamas would be smarter to stop firing useless rockets and find a new approach. Anyone for reconciliation? Sorry. The answer is no.

1 Comment

Filed under Israel, middle east, Palestinians