Israel fears Hamas might lash out with rocket fire, and the World Bank worries the strip could collapse. The United Nations on Tuesday declared that a decade of Hamas rule, Palestinian infighting and crippling blockades by Israel and Egypt have made life for people in Gaza “more and more wretched” each day.
But Abbas has said he is prepared to go even further, threatening to impose sanctions against Hamas and freeze funds for its leaders “if they continue to rule Gaza and use the money of the Palestinian people to strengthen their hold on power,” according to an interview he gave to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.Sponsored Ads
The tough tactics by Abbas are unprecedented in the decade-long split between the rulers of Gaza and the West Bank. …
But that strength could be short-lived. The reason: renewed tension with Israel. The southern Lebanese border has long been precarious territory. But Hezbollah fighters and officials say they have recently shifted troops to the area from Syria, out of concern that their enemy is preparing for a new conflict there. And several times in the past few months, the United States struck Hezbollah targets in Syria, prompting Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader, to warn of retaliatory strikes if America continues to infringe upon the territory it holds in the country.
He predicts the war will begin before the summer is over. If he’s right, fighters such as Rabieh—the one in Syria—could be headed to a new front. “Any violation in Lebanon or Syria by the Israelis,” Rabieh says, “we will be there.”
It looks like there is competition to see who can start the next war. The one below is with Hamas.
‘The Next War’: Who’s behind the escalation in Gaza?
Now, however, the siege is being manipulated by several parties, including the Palestinian leadership itself.
Recent media reports have pointed out that the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority has deliberately been blocking ill Gazans from receiving proper medical care in the West Bank and Jordan.
But this is nothing new. Accusations that Fatah-dominated PA has been twisting the Israeli knife so as to dislodge its Hamas foes from the Gaza leadership are as old as the siege itself.
For the last several days, the Gaza power plant has been able to make up for electricity cut off by Israel — at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s request — and then some, giving Gazans five hours of electricity for every 12 without.
But on Thursday, the fuel used by the power station was supposed to run out, and no indication has been received of new Egyptian fuel entering Gaza. The question now is how Gaza’s Hamas leaders will react to a new crisis.
Will the movement try to start a fight with Israel to distract from the internal problems, or do its leaders prefer to sit in the dark, literally, and avoid war?
Israel ‘playing with fire’ on Hamas prisoner issue
The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip announced June 29 that Israel was denying family visits to Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. A press release by the spokesman from Hamas’ prisoners department said, “The aim of this decision is to exert pressure on the Hamas leadership regarding the missing and [captive Israelis in] Gaza and is a surrender to the pressure of the [Israeli] soldiers’ families, who called for the [Hamas] prisoners to be punished.” Leaders of the jailed Hamas prisoners also issued a statement to the media, calling the decision a declaration of war. “We will not allow this decision to stand, whatever the price may be,” the group warned.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that a future war waged by Israel against Syria or Lebanon [or Gaza] could draw thousands of fighters from countries including Iran and Iraq.
“This doesn’t mean there are states that might intervene directly. But this could open the way for thousands, even hundreds of thousands of fighters from all over the Arab and Islamic world to participate – from Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.
He said any Israeli war with Lebanon or the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, would be “very costly” and that Israel would not be able to win.
Here we get a clue that an Israel-Gaza (Hamas) war will be joined quickly by Hezbollah and apparently fighters from all over the Islamic world. Right now the clock is ticking toward a war between Israel and Gaza.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will halt all financial payments to Gaza in the future and in so doing push Israel into war with Hamas, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned on Thursday morning as he addressed the annual Herzliya Conference.
With regard to the electricity, Abbas “has not made a one time reduction. He will continue to reduce [electricity] payments and to stop playmates all together in a few months both for the fuel and the medicine and payments of [civic salaries],” Liberman said.
Abbas has taken this step unilaterally without consulting Israel, Egypt or Jordan, he said.
The Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority and, to a lesser extent, the Egyptian government are locked in a game of chicken with Hamas, which has brought along the two million unfortunate residents of the Gaza Strip for the ride. This death race is being fueled by a combination of internal Palestinian spats, various Israeli policies, military changes on the ground, and a diplomatic siege in the Gulf. A catastrophic collision seems increasingly likely.
There have been three large scale military operations between Israel and Hamas since the Islamist terror group came to power in a bloody coup in June 2007, the last one being Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. But the group’s rule over the Gaza Strip has not been significantly challenged by its residents. While both Israel and Hamas have stated that they are not looking for conflict, the current fuel crisis to hit the Strip–residents have less than 4 hours of electricity daily– has led to concerns, including by senior IDF officials, that a confrontation might break out if one side miscalculates the other side’s actions.
Terror group spokesman warns of ‘disastrous’ results should Israel implement Abbas’s request to decrease electricity to Strip; officials warn of humanitarian catastrophe
The Israeli cabinet Sunday night decided it would reduce the amount of power it supplies to the Gaza Strip at the behest of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is seeking to ramp up pressure on rival party Hamas.
The security cabinet decided Sunday to reduce the daily amount supplied to Gaza by around 45 minutes, Israeli media reported.
Israel’s security agencies, as well as its diplomatic echelons, have been operating on the assumption that Hamas is under threat, experiencing severe economic and military hardship, and thus had no desire or ability to change the “rules of the game” established after Israel’s destructive 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. In other words, Israel’s assessment until now had been that Hamas was not interested in opening a new front against it in the near future.
Now, it seems, Israel will be forced to change its policies toward the Gaza Strip in general and Hamas in particular. Any Iranian imprint will be regarded as a security threat to Israel. On the eve of Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted, “Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay,” signaling that Hamas would be held responsible for any rockets fired from Gaza at Israel. This is just as relevant today. If Hamas in the era of Haniyeh and Sinwar opens the gates of Gaza to Iranian military influence, Hamas will pay.
What are the new rules of the game? They are Iran’s rules. Iran will decide when the next war happens with Israel. Just like it will decide for Hezbollah and Syria.