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Political power plays deepen Gaza crisis
Cat : Israel and Zionism
Date : 2006-07-06 10:01:58                      Reader : 279
Force is the best for Israel , as it is superior in military side with American so phesticated chars, airplanes, rockets , in addition to nuclear , biological, and chemical weapons, how can Israel listen even to UN ?! US already challenged 60 resolutions of UN against Israel with simply Vito !! Now who is complicating Gaza and Palestine crisis?!


googlenews 6/7/2006

Political power plays deepen Gaza crisis


The Gaza hostage crisis is being complicated by ongoing power struggles within Hamas and the Israeli government.

Commentary by Dominic Moran in Tel Aviv for ISN Security Watch (05/07/06)

Ongoing political rivalries within Hamas and the Israeli government are complicating efforts to resolve the Gaza hostage crisis and are encouraging further violence. Hamas’ exiled political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal is thought to be using militant loyalists to prevent his authority being usurped by the Hamas-led Palestinian government, as Israeli leadership rivals Amir Peretz and Ehud Olmert look to bolster their security credentials with voters.

Palestinian kidnappers holding Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit hostage pulled out of official talks for his release on Tuesday, while the Israeli government rejected an ultimatum demanding a mass release of Palestinian prisoners by that morning in return for negotiations on the soldier’s fate.

The ultimatum was an attempt to take control of the pace of events in the abduction, and may signal that secret negotiations for the soldier’s release have stalled.

Executing Shalit would likely be counterproductive for his captors as it would end all hopes of a prisoner release, which, if achieved, would greatly bolster the popularity of the three groups (Hamas, Army of Islam, the Popular Resistance Committees) involved in his abduction.

The death of the soldier would almost certainly lead to a major assault by Israeli forces stationed in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has already exhausted other means for striking at Palestinian militants through arrest raids, targeted assassinations, and artillery and air strikes on Qassam rocket launch sites. And following a Qassam rocket attack on an Israeli school in Ashqelon late on Tuesday, officials close to the PM said the army was likely to be given a green light for a major offensive in the northern Gaza Strip. Such an operation will likely lead to significant casualties on both sides with a rearmed Fatah and Hamas fighting alongside smaller groups in built-up areas where Israel’s firepower advantage is negated by the proximity of civilians.

The current crisis in the Gaza Strip was triggered on 25 June by a raid on an Israeli military outpost at Kerem Shalom, situated in Israeli territory adjacent to the Egypt-Gaza-Israel border.

The target was likely selected both for its proximity to the southern Gaza Strip and for its symbolic value, as Israel has established a controversial border terminal at Kerem Shalom for the passage of goods to and from Gaza.

Recent Israeli arrest raids led to the detention of 23 Hamas parliamentarians in the West Bank, forcing Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to temporarily replace eight detained Hamas ministers with parliamentarians from the Gaza Strip.

Meshaal’s power play
Although Hamas’ exiled political bureau chief, Khaled Meshaal - who controls the Damascus political bureau, which is the group’s highest political authority - denies any involvement in the outpost raid, circumstantial evidence points fairly clearly to his playing some role in the attack.

There have been persistent rumors that hardliners from the movement’s Izzedin al-Qassam military wing have been growing increasingly unhappy with the constitutionalism of Hamas’ political leadership in the territories.

According to reports, some have already joined other militant groups, including the shadowy Army of Islam, which was formed by a former Hamas member to continue the armed struggle.

Meshaal’s ally Ahmed Jabri, who leads Izzedin al-Qassam in the Gaza Strip, reportedly refused to end rocket strikes in talks with Haniyeh following Hamas’ short-lived revocation of a ceasefire agreement last month.

Ongoing talks between Hamas and Fatah officials over the so-called "Prisoners’ Document" appeared close to success just before the outpost raid.

Hamas agreed to support the joint political platform shortly after the hostage-taking.

Hardliners in the movement and the Damascus-based political bureau were understood to be unhappy at the decision to enter negotiations on the document, which goes against Hamas’ founding charter in granting de facto recognition to the Israeli state.

Hamas parliamentarians denied that their agreement to pursue a state within the West Bank and Gaza Strip constituted an implicit recognition of Israel, but their protests were a mere face-saving effort.

Paradoxically, the outpost raid, which appears intended to bolster Meshaal’s political power in relation to the Hamas-led government, has led instead to a surge in support for Hamas within the territories and for Haniyeh’s leadership.

Meshaal sees political control of Hamas being progressively assumed by the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) government, while the Damascus bureau is being marginalized and he is likely to launch further provocations in a bid to undermine Haniyeh’s administration.

Israel also has an interest in undermining Haniyeh; to prevent the Prisoners’ Document from being recognized as the basis for future talks, or as an excuse to end the international isolation of the Hamas-led government.

Olmert versus Peretz
The political rivalry between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Kadima) and Labor leader Amir Peretz, who heads the Defense Ministry, has been further exacerbated by the hostage drama.

Peretz insisted on controlling the ministry in coalition formation negotiations earlier this year, reasoning that he would be able to present himself to voters in the following election as a safe pair of hands on security issues.

The former union leader was excoriated by the Israeli press during the 2006 election campaign for his lack of security experience.

Since he took office, the left-of-center media has accused him of failing to significantly change the policies of his hawkish predecessor, while the right has attacked him for failing to respond with sufficient force to the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel.

Peretz has sought to demonstrate leadership through reopening discussions concerning the fate of Israel Military Industries (IMI) and launching a ministerial inquiry into the route of the West Bank security fence. He has allowed more Palestinian workers to enter Israel and ordered the military to facilitate the passage of goods through Gaza’s oft-closed Karni Crossing.

Both Olmert and Peretz competed in issuing hard-line statements in the early days of the hostage crisis, but both were more circumspect after it became clear that the kidnapping would not be resolved easily.

Olmert rejected a military offensive in the northern Gaza Strip, planned by Peretz and the army staff, in a very public snub that intimated that Peretz did not have sufficient knowledge of defense matters to approve operational plans.

The Prime Minister’s office also took the lead in rejecting Monday’s ultimatum from the kidnappers, while Peretz hit the headlines on Sunday, saying that Israel held Syrian leader Bashir al-Assad responsible for the hostage crisis as Damascus hosts Meshaal.

The competition between the two men is likely to contribute to an escalation in the Israeli response to the hostage-taking, with both keen to avoid responsibility for the death of the soldier or a mass prisoner release.

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