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If it's over now, Hamas wins Gaza war
Posted By Aaron Klein On 11/21/2012 @ 7:25 pm In Politics,World | No Comments
TEL AVIV – Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip may have had the unintended consequence of turning Hamas into a player on the international diplomatic scene.
In the grand scheme of things, while both sides sustained losses and experienced some gains, Hamas emerges the victor of this latest conflict.
While Hamas was firing rockets into central Israeli population centers, the group’s politburo chief, Khaled Meshaal, was in Cairo negotiating a cease-fire through Egypt with both U.S. and Israeli officials. This after Israel and the Obama administration previously pledged not to engage in such dialogue with Hamas unless the Islamic group first recognized the Jewish state and renounced violence.
During the height of the fighting, Arab delegations from Sudan, the Arab League and even the U.S.-aided Iraqi government went on solidarity visits to Hamas in Gaza. This was not the diplomatic scene during previous Israeli operations of either Gaza or the Fatah-dominated West Bank.
The fighting further served to solidify Hamas’ position as the dominant Palestinian faction waging jihad against Israel, relegating Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the role of bystander from his isolated compound in Ramallah, where he occasionally spattered off anti-Israel rhetoric to stay relevant.
This theme may help explain why Abbas’ Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades was quick to take credit for today’s bus bombing in Tel Aviv. The attack may have served as Fatah’s last-minute attempt to insert itself into the Israel-Hamas war.
To be sure, Hamas this last week suffered a major blow to its terrorist and military infrastructure inside Gaza. Yet throughout Israel’s campaign, Hamas was able to maintain daily rocketing of Israel’s central and southern population centers, including reaching Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the first time
That rocket-fire establishes a new deterrent posture for Hamas, with Tel Avivians and Jerusalemites understanding that any future military incursion into Gaza will result in missiles at Israel’s major population centers and not just the Jewish communities near Gaza.
Just as it did after Israel’s 2008 war in Gaza, Hamas will now set out to rearm itself and rebuild its destroyed infrastructure in Gaza, no doubt with help from its Iranian patrons.
While an initial cease-fire was reached today, the agreement only serves as the basis for further talks between Israel and Hamas on such issues as the status of borders and international involvement in the region.
According to Middle East security sources familiar with the particulars of the continued, long-term truce being discussed, the issues that are near agreement include:
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