Crossfire War: Middle East; Gaza- Palestinian Groups Dismiss Each Other’s Claims – Prelude to Civil War
Night Watch: GAZA – Competing for power and influcence within the fractured Palestinian community continued with no sign of easing. The Islamic militant group Hamas, pledged to Israel’s destruction, has dismissed the pronouncements of Fatah, the more established and corrupt faction loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and its claim to be given more praise for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.
Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri, as quoted by Reuters, said “Resistance, not diplomacy, forced the occupiers out.” The diplomacy he was dismissing referred to negotiations, mostly led by Fatah, that were begun in the early 1990’s.
In direct oppostion to that view was the explanation given by a senior Fatah leader, Samir al-Musharawi, “It is injustice to limit the history of Palestinian struggle to a few years. This achievement was the fruit of sacrifices for the duration of the occupation.” Israel has occupied the Gaza strip since 1967, as a result of Israel’s startling victory in the Six Day War in June of that year.
As a result of Israel’s victory, that also shocked the Ayatollah Khomeini, who was in exile in Najaf, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia began to openly finance pan-Islamic groups whether Sunni or Shiite. Some historians date the beginnig of the Islamic revival with that year. The Khomeini revolution twelve years later completed the beginning of the revival and the current Jihad is its fulfillment.
I suspect that the real reason for Israel’s withdrawal, and there are hints of it as their diplomats and leaders express their concerns about militant groups like Hamas, Hizbollah and Islamic Jihad increasing their preparations for more attacks, that Tel Aviv agreed to the withdrawal to pull their citizens out of the line of fire of Israel’s response and the Islamic world using the next war to show their new military cooperation.
Islamic governments realize that a symbolic military show of support for Palestinian people would make them more popular in their own countries. The only exception is Egypt and probably because President Hosni Mubarak is not leading the Jihad. Since there is not much of a market for salt in the Dead Sea Israel is not the Jihad’s main target. The Caspian region will be given more priority.
Hamas is still sworn to Israel’s destruction and has stated they will be placing more emphasis on attacks in the West Bank, the area Israel takes more seriously. Hamas doing so is probably at the suggestion of Tehran who knows that the West Bank is more spritually significant and leads to Jerusalem. In the meantime it has been reported that al-Qaeda(Tehran-Riyadh) now has a presence in Gaza. Tehran wants Israel to be engaged on as many fronts as possible simultaneously. That would require Hizbollah, along the border with Lebanon, to become more active.
A war on this scale, the largest in Israel’s modern history, may force Tel Aviv to use some of its nuclear stockpile.
In the meantime the rivalry for control of Palestine will intensify and with both competing Palestinian groups caught up in the larger war around them neither organization could remain after the Jihad runs its course, eliminating both of them. Political commentator Hani Habib said, “During the uprisings, factions competed over the number of attacks against Israel. Now it is also a race to get credit for the perceived victory.”
During the war with Israel, and the infighting within the Palestinian community a third group could emerge, with a better sense of responsibility and representation.
Night Watch Information Service
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