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Friday, June 29, 2007

PLO approves plan for retaking Gaza by force but Mubarak objects

The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas (link to Arabic homepage only) reported on Thursday that the PLO has approved a plan to retake the Gaza Strip from Hamas by force. Sources in Cairo told the newspaper that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's request to allow the 'Palestinian' Badr Brigade from Jordan to be deployed in Judea and Samaria is part of the 'takeover plan' for Gaza (link in Hebrew).

But according to the report, during the Sharm summit, Egypt refused to approve the plan because it would lead to 'bloodshed.' Nevertheless, the London Arabic newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi (home page only - link in Arabic) reported Thursday morning that preparations are being finalized in case Israel allows the entrance of the Badr Brigade into Judea and Samaria. A 'Palestinian' source in Amman told the newspaper that the Brigade is ready, but that Israel is withholding its approval until it has a chance to review the names of the soldiers and officers who will be included in the Brigade. Once that is complete, there will be a coordinating committee that was agreed upon at Sharm, with representatives of Israel, Jordan and the 'Palestinians' that will supervise the Badr Brigade's deployment.

According to al-Qabas, Israel's approval of the use of armored vehicles by Abu Mazen's forces is meant to be indirect support by Israel for the plan, which has been approved by the United States and by several Arab countries. That approval and the plan behind it are the reason why Abu Mazen continues to insist that he will not negotiate with Hamas despite increasing pressure on him to negotiate from Fatah's old guard.

Al-Qabas reports that Mubarak objects to the plan out of fear that it will lead to 'bloodshed' and because he believes that it means the end of the 'concept of a 'Palestinian' state reichlet. What is left unsaid is that if the concept of a 'Palestinian' reichlet comes to an end, the Arab states will have to admit that there will be no return of 'refugees' to 'Palestine' and then the Arab countries - including Egypt which took in 4000 more 'Palestinians' from Gaza last week - might actually have to give them citizenship and permanent homes. Instead, Cairo is trying to stop Hamas in its tracks and force it to admit to its 'mistakes' while Egyptian intelligence minister Omar Suleiman is holding talks with 'moderate' 'Palestinian' Hamas former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to try to convince Hamas to return the papers that it found in the former Fatah 'security headquarters' (presumably - although the article doesn't mention them - the videotapes I reported on last night), to vacate the premises of the former Fatah 'security headquarters' and to return to the status quo ante.

It is probably obvious to most of you that if the Olmert-Barak-Livni government has approved the use of the Badr Brigade to retake Gaza by force from Hamas, it necessarily means that the Brigade will have to cross Israel to get to Gaza from Judea and Samaria. Hamas could well deem that to be an act of war by Israel. From Israel's standpoint, the better approach would be to transport them through Jordan and across the Sinai and let them enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing. In any event, because of the logistics, the Badr Brigade will not have the element of surprise on its side. And Hamas will be there waiting.


At 5:06 PM, Blogger Yishai said...

Nice analysis at the end. It wouldn't be such a bad idea for Israel to let the 'Palestinians' fight it out between themselves. In any case, Hamas doesn't need an excuse for war. But Israel may want to seem completely innocent in the court of world opinion, so sending them the long way may be a good idea.


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