Monday, January 28, 2008

Hamas Note

Hamas, the officially labeled terrorist group (polite journals like the Christian Science Monitor now use the term "militant") controlling Gaza, is learning how to manipulate events to their political advantage. Last week's breach in the wall between Gaza and Egypt is their wedge.

...Hamas not only has broken out of its physical isolation, but is emerging with a stronger negotiating position on several fronts. "At this moment, Hamas is the only address for discussing the Egyptian-Gazan border regime. Hamas is also the only address for Israel right now to solve the practical problems of the open border. If this isn't a victory, I don't know what is," says Yaron Ezrahi, a political science professor at Hebrew University.

"The Israelis miscalculated. They thought besieging and isolating Hamas would help Abbas, but the outcome has been the reverse," he says. "We're in a new phase, and Hamas has been strengthened. Now the Egyptian government is offering to bring Hamas and Fatah together under its sponsorship, because that's where Egypt's national interest now lies."

[Diaa Rashwan, an expert on Islamic movements and regional politics in Cairo] says it's unlikely that Hamas, aware of the friendlier Egyptian attitude, will force more border confrontations. "The Israelis were giving all of their attention to Abbas until now, but everyone forgot that a third of his people were being ignored in Gaza. Now the support of the Arab public is with those people, Egypt hasn't cut its channels with Hamas, and Hamas understands that Egypt is willing to negotiate."

Hello, Washington...

Yo, State Department....

Anybody listening????

Mr. President, how about you? Is this worth even a single line in tonight's SOTU speech?


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