Saturday, 2 February 2008

Gaza loser

As the Jerusalem Post puts it:

The Palestinian Authority leadership was surprised to see President Hosni Mubarak invite Hamas for talks on the crisis. Moreover, Abbas was reported to have been outraged upon learning that his sworn enemy, Khaled Mashaal, had been invited to Riyadh for talks with senior Saudi government officials.

Abbas's main fear is that Hamas is now trying to translate the latest border crisis into political gain. For him, the fact that Hamas leaders like Mahmoud Zahar and Khaled Mashaal are being welcomed into two of the most important Arab capitals is tantamount to recognition of Hamas's violent takeover of Gaza.

In Cairo this week, Abbas used strong words to condemn Hamas, depicting its leaders as a "junta" that had staged a bloody coup against a legitimate government.

Abbas wants to restore his exclusive control not only over the Rafah border crossing, but over the entire Gaza Strip.

Hamas's response has thus far been along the lines of "over our dead bodies."

Indeed, there is almost no reason why Hamas should soften its position. On the contrary, Hamas, in the wake of the sense of victory prevalent among its leaders in the past week, feels that it is moving in the right direction.

Hamas's declared aim over the past seven months has been to end its isolation and break the blockade imposed on the Strip, including the closure of the border with Egypt.


Benjamin Geer said...

Hamas did something useful for Gazans by breaking down the border. Meanwhile, has Abbas done anything useful?

Lebanese socialist said...

Not that I can see... he's the modern version of Ahmad Shukeiri—Saudi Arabia and Egypt's man with little influence on the ground.