Israel and Hamas again approached the brink of war this week. This latest conflagration began Sunday night when Israeli special forces carried out a covert operation into the Gaza Strip, Hamas fighters caught them, and a gunfight ensued. In the 25 hours that followed, Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at southern Israel, and Israel pounded Gaza with airstrikes. By the time a truce took hold Tuesday, one Israeli and 14 Gazans had been killed, in addition to one West Bank Palestinian killed by a Hamas rocket in Israel.
The rapid pace of escalation leaves observers with many questions. Why did Israel carry out this military operation at a time when many were heralding novel progress in diplomatic steps toward alleviating tensions between Israel and Hamas?… Seguir leyendo »
This month, Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal in a move to end the split that has divided the West Bank and the Gaza Strip politically and administratively since 2007.
Hamas officials will now integrate into the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA), which will assume full control of Gaza and end policies that have redoubled the suffering of its already impoverished and blockaded population. Subsequent talks will turn to outstanding issues, including Hamas’s military wing.
Reacting to the news, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged that Israel would not “accept bogus reconciliations … at the expense of our existence.” His government subsequently announced that Israel will not talk with any Palestinian government in which Hamas plays a role.… Seguir leyendo »
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians soared last month after several weeks of violence claimed the lives of 11 Palestinians and five Israelis.
Could escalation give rise to a new Palestinian intifada? If so, would that uprising will be more akin to the largely nonviolent first intifada of 1987-1993 or the violent second intifada that began in 2000? Surprisingly, conditions may favor the mass mobilization of unarmed protest — and in a place where many least expect it: Hamas.
Hamas emerged in 1987 during the first intifada as an Islamist political and militant movement in the struggle against the Israeli occupation. The main force behind suicide bombings inside Israel in the 1990s and early 2000s, Hamas earned a reputation as a terrorist organization — officially designated as such by the United States and European Union.… Seguir leyendo »