Israel: Hamas Wants It All

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March 9, 2009: The European Union has pledged $556 million in aid for "rebuilding Gaza" this year. The U.S. has pledged $900 million (most of it earmarked for Fatah). Arab nations have pledged nearly $1.5 billion, and total pledges are close to $5 billion. But delivery of this cash has been held up by the inability of Hamas and Fatah to agree on who would control the use of the money inside Gaza. Hamas wants total control, but Fatah makes the case that it still has many supporters in Gaza, and that donors do not want Hamas getting control of the money. Arab states are not happy with Hamas, which they see as a pawn of Iran. There is a growing conflict between non-Arab Shia Iran (and its allies Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza) and the Sunni Arab world. There's no indication of when this deadlock will be resolved.

Hamas is declaring itself the victor in the 22 day war with Israel. For many Arabs, Hamas is the winner, because they fought the Israelis and survived, at least as an organization. Now the world is offering to provide five billion dollars so Hamas can rebuild the damage to its buildings. Most of the targets in Gaza were buildings, both residential and non-residential, used by Hamas. Other buildings destroyed were taken over by Hamas during the fighting. If Hamas is allowed to import all the construction material it wants, it will probably build more underground bunkers, that will provide better protection against Israeli bombs. Those bombs may come sooner, rather than later. Israel has told Hamas that if the rocket attacks on Israel do not stop, Israel will come in again. Most Hamas leaders believe that the Israelis won't do it.  Western aid donors are trying to keep any reconstruction money from Hamas, but that will be difficult. Hamas has the political and military power in Gaza to get what they want, and Hamas has not hesitated to use force and intimidation to get their way.

Efforts to from a united Palestinian government have failed, mainly because Hamas will not, under any circumstances, recognize Israel's right to exist, nor share power in Gaza with Fatah. Hamas believes that the ideological purity of their hatred for Israel and Jews is essential for the survival of Hamas and the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, up north, the Lebanese army has moved another infantry brigade to the Israeli border, along with a company of commandos, to search for rockets. Someone, apparently other than Hezbollah, is trying to launch more rockets into Israel. The Lebanese troops, in the last few weeks, have found, and destroyed, several dozen rockets set up for remote launch (in order to avoid prompt Israeli artillery fire). More rockets have been found in hidden bunkers or inside homes. The Lebanese government is blaming the rocket firings on Palestinians, but cannot yet prove it. The Lebanese do not want Hezbollah to get blamed for this rocket firing activity, and it's possible that Hezbollah is behind it. Some of the rocket stockpiles uncovered were apparently Hezbollah property. It's difficult for anyone but Hezbollah to move rockets into the border area, and it's unlikely that Hezbollah would give rockets to some unidentified Palestinian group.

Over 140 rockets have been fired from Gaza since the January 18 ceasefire. Hamas insists that these are fired by splinter groups that cannot be controlled. Yet Hamas also insists that it is the sole authority in Gaza. Hamas is trying to sell this contradiction to foreign aid groups, so that the rockets can continue going into Israel, while the money and other supplies come into Gaza. Israel is bombing the tunnels daily, and still going after Hamas leaders with missile attacks. The Israeli intelligence network is still active in Gaza, and the West Bank (where the Israelis can go in and arrest terrorists).

March 7, 2009:  For the fourth time in the last year, an Arab construction worker tried to use a construction vehicle (in this case, a bulldozer) to kill Jews. Two policemen were injured in this incident, and the Arab at the controls of the bulldozer was killed. Some Arab leaders called the incident a traffic accident, while others hailed the dead man as a martyr, killed while trying to destroy the enemies of Islam and the Palestinian people.

March 2, 2009: Ten rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, which is more than any other day since the January 18th ceasefire.

The police revealed that, a month ago, they arrested an Arab Israeli who had been recruited to spy for Hezbollah. The suspect was recruited six months ago, while performing the hajj (pilgrimage to the Moslem holy places in Saudi Arabia).

February 26, 2009: Despite Arab anger at Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Israel is going forward with more construction, providing housing for at least 5,000 more Jews in the West Bank. These settlements, and their 250,000 residents, are very popular with conservative Israeli voters, who usually hold the balance of power when politicians are collecting votes in parliament to form a new government.

 

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