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Friday, July 04, 2008

Citing 'truce violations,' Hamas freezes negotiations for Shalit

Citing unspecified 'truce violations,' Hamas has frozen negotiations aimed at freeing kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held for more than two years in the Gaza Strip.
Abu Marzuk told the London-based daily Al Hayat that Hamas would not send a delegation to the talks slated to take place in Cairo. He claimed that Israel was not living up to its obligations under the cease-fire and was closing the passages to the Strip.

"It does not make any sense that we should open negotiations while Israel does not honor the truce," Abu Marzuk said. "The issue will be postponed until the Egyptians invest the efforts together with the Israelis - in order to honor the truce agreement - open the crossings and prevent Muhammad Dahlan and Fatah from sabotaging the truce deal."

Abu Marzuk did not specify what Israeli truce violations he was referring to.
Despite his coyness, Marzuk was probably referring to Israel's closing of the Gaza Strip crossing in response to 'Palestinian' rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Fatah has taken responsibility for some - but not all - of the rockets fired.

But there are at least two other reasons why it's in Hamas' interest to suspend the negotiations at this time. One is noted in the same JPost article linked above.
Another senior activist in the organization was quoted by the paper as saying that "After the prisoner swap deal between Israel and Lebanon, according to which Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar is slated to go free, Israel is expected to display greater flexibility in talks over a prisoner swap with Hamas."
In other words, once Israel has paid such a high price for two dead hostages, the government will look bad if it doesn't pay an even higher price for one live one.

The other reason Hamas may not want to 'negotiate' at this time is that developments over the past two weeks have given it another plan.
Hamas believes Israel's will can be broken through attrition and a steady toll of unexpectedly high numbers of both military and civilian casualties.

In the event of a major IDF incursion into Gaza, Hamas would seek to maintain a steady rain of rockets on Israeli communities around the Strip and to break the sense of armored and air invulnerability hitherto enjoyed by Israeli forces engaging with its fighters. Hamas would of course also try to inflict steady losses of 4 to 10 casualties per day on IDF's ground forces during the fighting. Looking to the 2006 model, the movement's planners believe that achieving these goals could be sufficient to break Israel's will.

To make this possible, Hamas is feverishly training as well as acquiring relevant weapons systems - of a type far superior in quality to those previously associated with the organization.

The weapons systems on which Hamas is thought to be currently training in the Gaza Strip include a wire-guided anti-tank missile, probably the AT-3 Sagger, and additional anti-tank guided missiles: the AT-4 Spigot, the tripod-fired AT-5 Spandrel and the shoulder-fired AT-14 Spriggan - all useful against armor. All these systems have ranges of several kilometers.

In addition, Hamas is thought to have brought into Gaza large numbers of RPG-29 Vampir handheld anti-tank grenade launchers with a range of 500 meters, which are capable of penetrating reactive armor and are considered far superior to the RPG 7 systems used by the movement in the past.

Hamas is also developing improvised explosive devices, i.e. bombs. The organization possesses an Iranian-developed, locally-produced system known as the Shawaz explosively-formed penetrator that it says can penetrate 20 cm. of steel. Hamas also claims to possess air defense missiles, though no information could be obtained on their nature or the veracity of the claim. Imports from Iran and Syria and local production are all playing a role in the movement's development of its arsenal.

In addition to arming Gaza to the teeth, Hamas is recruiting fresh fighters.


The Hamas rulers believe that Israelis want only peace and quiet, which makes them both vulnerable and deterrable. Thus, Hamas is seeking to create a solid shield around its Gaza fiefdom that can be turned into a weapon of attack at a time and situation of its choosing.
/What a great idea it was to give Hamas a couple of weeks of 'quiet.' Right Ehud?


At 1:34 AM, Blogger Freedom Fighter said...

Shalom Carl,
There's another, more sinister explanation - asaide from wanting a higher price, Hamas relizes that there's no real need now to deliver Shalit alive.

As for the new Hamas re-armament, two words...nuke them.

Since Hamas perceives this as a tribal war, let's get tribal.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Agreed. Since the Olmert-Barak-Livni-Yishai government has signaled they don't care if they get a corpse back - why keep Gilad Shalit alive? Hamas has also figured if they jack up the price, then can obtain even better hudna terms from Israel. After all, they are not the ones who've yielded on anything to date.


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