Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hamas to Israeli Defence Forces: Thank you for the lovely gift

NOTE: Please read the next post, "Al-Quds for all your Israel news" first. The order of these two posts got reversed.

The weekend Al-Quds al-Arabi carried a lengthy translation of a piece that appeared Friday by Alex Fishman, military correspondent for Yedioth Ahronoth, which is worth paying attention to, because it represents a mainstream Israeli view of how the US election, Iraq, and the "errant mortar fire" in Beit Hanoun will likely work together to spell increased political and military difficulties for Israel.

The main points are fairly easy to understand. Now that the election is over, Bush is able to ease his fundamentalist "no truck with terrorists" line. Moreover, to provide political cover in the region for an Iraq-withdrawal plan, he needs among other things to be seen as helpful in easing the Palestinian crisis. What the Israelis have been trying to do, Fishman says, is to very carefully and gradually move back into Gaza in order to try and prevent a gradual rearmament of Hamas and thus prevent another Lebanon. In that Israel has up to now been supported by Bush. And it has been supported by Bush in the political side of that, which has been to try and topple Hamas. In fact, writes Fishman, before the Beit Hanoun catastrophe, Fatah and Hamas were at loggerheads, and a civil war seemed imminent. But Beit Hanoun and the "Autmn Clouds" operation of which it was a part, altered the mood entirely.

Fishman's main point: In the new Washington political environment, it was already going to be somewhat difficult to get automatic renewals of the "green light" for these military re-occupation operations, and now, with the Beit Hanoun incident fresh in everyone's mind, it is going to be very difficult. And the same goes for the all-out political attack on Hamas. Now, says Fishman, it is much more likely that Bush will switch to a policy--unannounced of course--of indirect recognition of Hamas, in the form of a new government of technocrats, which however will still be mostly under the influence of Hamas.

Hamas should be sending the Israeli military authorities flowers, Fishman writes.


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