Israel has Hamas by its you-know-whatsFor once, Khaled Abu Toameh, the Jerusalem Post's articulate and perceptive 'Palestinian' reporter, seems to have gotten it wrong.
It's hard to see how the Israeli decision to declare the Gaza Strip "hostile territory" could undermine Hamas. In fact, the move is likely to backfire, rallying more Palestinians around Hamas and other radical groups.But Hamas doesn't see Israel's declaration of Gaza as a 'hostile entity' that way. And neither did the Israelis who formulated it.
Depriving Palestinians of water and electricity will not turn them against Hamas. Instead, they will vent their frustration and despair against Israel and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction.
That's why Abbas and his top aides were quick to condemn the decision to designate the Strip a hostile entity, employing the same language used by Hamas leaders: "A declaration of war" and "crime against humanity," they called it.
The move is seen by Abbas and his entourage as a form of "collective punishment" that will only weaken their standing among their people.
Yesterday, I blogged an Israel Radio interview with Giora Eiland, in which I noted the following:
Eiland said that Israel must cut off utilities to Gaza if only so that someone else in the world aside from Israelis (and he could have said "residents of Sderot and other communities that border Gaza" and he would have been more accurate) will care enough to pressure the 'Palestinians' to stop shooting rockets at Israel. He said that the continued supply of utilities cannot be justified on an economic basis and that even if it constitutes collective punishment, Israel has no other choice and no other way to get the world to take notice and act on what's going on near Gaza.You will note that Eiland never mentioned undermining Hamas. He put it in terms of getting the world's attention. And since the world's reaction was almost as muted as its reaction to Kassam fire, and the United States - which the 'Palestinians' see as the only power with any influence on Israel - went so far as to agree that Gaza is a 'hostile entity' and to add that it is hostile to the US as well, Hamas is now running scared trying to convince their more radical brethren to stop the Kassams, at least for now.
Haniyeh held meetings on Thursday with representatives of the terrorist groups Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza and asked them to halt rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.Can Hamas 'convince' Islamic Jihad to stop shooting? Stay tuned....
Hamas sources reported that both groups said they were willing to comply with Haniyeh's request, but wanted to wait to see how Israel would respond to a proposed cease-fire.
Abu Ahmed, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad militants, said Thursday that "rockets are an affirmation of our option of continuing holy war and resistance against the occupation. Therefore, resistance will only stop if the occupation ends," he said, Haaretz reported.
However, the occupation may refer to the entire land of Israel, and not just the territories won in the 1967 war, because the groups' rhetoric consistently refers to the liberation of the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
Meanwhile, Army Radio reported Thursday that the IDF is set to begin compiling a list of the economic sanctions to be imposed on the Gaza Strip following the cabinet's decision to declare Gaza and its Hamas government a "hostile entity."
Cabinet ministers agreed that in response to the escalation of rocket attacks on Israel, the government will accordingly compromise the ability of Hamas to govern in Gaza as the quality of life deteriorated. "We will reduce the amount of megawattage we provide to the Strip, and Hamas will have to decide whether to provide electricity to hospitals or weapons lathes," an official said.