Sunday, February 03, 2008

Hamas marches on...

From a DEBKAfile Report February 3, 2008, 8:23 AM (GMT+02:00):

Hamas lengthens its border with Israel by 220 km and gains Egyptian de facto recognition.... Hamas and its missile shooters have placed Eilat within range as well as Sderot.

Hamas' Mahmoud a-Zahar in Cairo

The Egyptian government submitted to the new status quo created by Hamas when it bulldozed the Gaza-Sinai border ten days ago. In effect, Cairo extended de facto recognition to Hamas’ rule of the Gaza Strip and the Ismail Haniya government. In so doing, the Mubarak government broke away from the international boycott of Hamas rule in Gaza.

A Palestinian state sponsored, armed and backed by Iran and Syria on Israel’s southwestern border drastically worsens Israel’s strategic and military position in regional terms. Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, Israel’s negotiating partners, have been left far behind in the Palestinian power stakes. By failing to step in and halt this dangerous process, Israel has left the West Bank wide open to a Hamas-Jihad Islami takeover.

....The deal with Egypt establishes a joint mechanism with Hamas for the Gaza-Sinai border. Gazan Palestinians would continue to move freely across the border and the Rafah terminal would be reopened – from now on manned by armed Hamas officials. Hamas therefore gained everything it wanted from Cairo on the Gaza-Sinai border and recognition without firing a shot.

.......Another step decided in Cairo was to integrate token elements of the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah in the new Gazan border arrangements. Accepting the offer would commit Abbas to cooperation with the Hamas rule which ousted his PA from Gaza last summer.

Meshaal and a-Zahar were not averse to restoring a European monitoring presence to Rafah in place of those who fled after the Hamas coup, but they insisted on Russians, maintaining that Moscow, which keeps a mission in Gaza, merited a stronger role in its affairs. If this plan works out, Moscow would win an active role in an issue bound up with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without consultation with Jerusalem.

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