Photo: Reuters
Palestinians attend a protest to demand lifting the sanctions on Gaza Strip
Photo: Reuters
Alex Fishman

Hamas knows election time is the ideal time to extort Israel

Analysis: After the stormy weather settles down, chiefs of staff change, and Israel elects its new prime minister, the security situation in Gaza will remain as it is now—unstable.

When departing IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot on Tuesday told the residents of the Israeli communities near the Gaza border that the probability of a military confrontation with Hamas in the near future is low to moderate, maybe he was depending on stormy weather. This winter is a harsh one, and people are in no rush to leave their homes and run towards the fence in blistering cold.



But the weather aside, and despite the two installments of Qatari funds delivered to Palestinian civil servants in the Gaza Strip in November and December, there is no indication that Hamas has renounced the continuation of the conflict with Israel. On the contrary—the fact the Qatari cash infusion has since been halted only motivates Hamas to put pressure on Israelis in the south, who in turn put pressure on the government. 


Hamas celebrates 31 years (Photo: AFP)
Hamas celebrates 31 years (Photo: AFP)


Moreover, Hamas officials say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just recently conveyed a message through Egypt, warning them not to create a provocation during election time due to its sensitivity, threatening that the retaliation would be harsh.


As far as Hamas is concerned, there is no better opportunity than election time to cause trouble for Israel, when the Jewish State is easy to extort. Those who are willing to launch a military campaign against Hamas would subject the residents of the center to rockets launched from Gaza and might well pay for it with their Knesset seat.


All the factors that led to the outbreak of violence along the Gaza border fence at the end of March 2018, are still there and have even exacerbated. Since Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing several months ago, those who could escape did so. More than 20,000 professionals, most of them academics, left the Strip. The terror organization cannot ignore this fact, just as it cannot ignore the outcry of the 13,000 Palestinians who were wounded during clashes with the IDF along the fence.


Gaza border riots (Photo: Reuters)
Gaza border riots (Photo: Reuters)


The protests by the wounded and their families over the poor medical treatment they had received in the Strip even prompted Hamas to call on Arab countries to provide treatment for some of the casualties.


And those are only two of the symptoms of the disease of violence that erupted in Gaza in March, and not only was the disease not wiped out in the months since then, it reached peaked over the past few days.


This illness, according to Eisenkot, is embodied by the rift between rival Fatah and Hamas movements, which pushed the Palestinian Authority to impose sanctions on Hamas-ruled Gaza and cause a severe economic and leadership crisis.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has recently made a series of decisions—including completely ending the Palestinian Authority's financial commitments to Gaza—which mean a total detachment from the Strip. Abbas formally dismantled the largely defunct Palestinian Parliament, erasing any sign of partnership with Hamas, whose members he dubbed traitors, spies and Satan's emissaries in a public speech.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas  (Photo: Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Reuters)


In practice, Abbas threw out every reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah that had been achieved over the past few years.


The terror organization's response is clearly evident in the Israeli communities near the Gaza border—a bomb-laden styrofoam airplane attached to a cluster of balloons, mortar shells, and thousands of Palestinian demonstrators running at the fence in an attempt to breach it, while throwing explosive devices at IDF soldiers.


So whether the weather improves, the chiefs of staff changes, Israel turns its gaze to elections, the security situation in Gaza will remain as it is now—unstable.



פרסום ראשון: 01.12.19, 00:00
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