Saturday, December 28, 2013

The escalation in Gaza-Israel border and Hamas' difficult choices

Earlier this week an escalation took place along Israel—Gaza borders after a sniper shot and killed an IDF worker along the fence and Israel retaliated by heavy bombings on Islamic Jihad long's range missiles storing site and terror manufacture. The event was quickly contained and looks like over, but unlike in the past the background of this event is different than in the past and Hamas may consider aggressive option as a way out of its plight.
What are the plights of Hamas? First of all the collapse of the service systems: the sewage is floating on the streets; electricity is far of being fluent and most dangerous- drinking waters supply is declining and in a year time now it might gather proportions of real human catastrophe.
The political environment is only making the plight graver- Egypt has just now declared Moslem Brothers as terror organization and the prospects that Hamas will follow are high. Already now Egypt is treating Hamas as terror organization and Gaza might soon be cut off Egypt. Already now Gaza and Egypt are not tightly linked as under Mursi and it might get even worser.
The organization that took responsibility on the killing of IDF worker, the "Intifada Committees" is a coalition of radical terror groups that are coordinated with Hamas and are not far from the Sinai based "Aknaf Bait al-Maqdes" group that committed the terror attack in Mansura that in its turn triggered the declaration of Moslem Brothers as terror organization.
So, what Hamas is going to do? First what it is NOT going to do: At this stage it will NOT launch another full scale round with Israel. They can correctly evaluate that with the collapsing Gaza infrastructures they will not hold to power and may downfall. The option to hit Israel from Sinai is exactly what Egypt is looking for as an excuse to completely cut Gaza once and for all off Egypt, so we have to drop this option also.
What is left then is shifting the terror activity to the West Bank. The notion that may be we shall not be engaged in terror any longer does not occur to them, unfortunately.
So far, Hamas refrained from being engaged in the West Bank as it looked to Gaza as its real stronghold and was oriented to Cairo and not to Ramallah as part of the big Caliphate aspiration and not Palestinian statehood failed project. But now it looks to Ramallah as threat to its grip on Gaza. They suspect that Fatah may consider exploiting the difficulties they are in in order to regain Gaza.
A clear indication to this option was given earlier this week in a telling article published in a Hamas site by Husam Badran in which he asserted that the forthcoming intifada in the West Bank will not be directed against Israel only but basically against the "traitors" that are collaborating with Israel against the "muqawama", that's to say the security coordination between the PA security and IDF. He promised that those collaborators would be either sentenced or "morally punished" – that's to say—be assassinated. In other words: Hamas is considering an overtake of the West Bank by launching a new intifada inspired by them that would sweep Fatah rule out.
Husam Badran is a senior Hamas cadre. He is one of the released Shalit prisoners exchange deal that was expelled to Qatar and is now one of Khaled Mash'al's close aides. This can give us another perspective to the attractiveness of Hamas starting get engaged in West Bank affairs: to place Khaled Mash'al as the heir to Abu Mazen West Bank leadership.
Unlike eh rest of Hamas leaders that are located in Gaza, Khaled Mash'al is from a village near Ramallah- Silwad – so he is a West Banker by origin. The Hamas leadership in Gaza stopped getting orders from him and will not accept him in their midst. So, sending him to Ramallah after overthrowing Fatah can be a solution for them.
This is by far too early to happen, but we cannot rule out considerations contemplated by Hamas as way out from their hardships.
Sum up: the current situation along the Israeli-Gaza borders looks like contained. Gaza will not trigger all-out showdown with Israel at this point. Hamas rule entered real crisis as a result of the collapse of civil infrastructures and a major calamity of running out of drinking waters is looming on the horizons. Egypt already treats Gaza as terror sponsoring territory and they must export the crisis out. Husam Badran article gave the first indication that the consider the West Bank as an outlet- at least among Mash'al circles that is from the West Bank and aspires for leadership in the West Bank himself.