Numerous things were learned from the recent Israel – Hamas war in Gaza.
One of them was that when it comes to being an arena where Iran and Israel faced each other off, Gaza is losing its importance.
Hamas has got a new Qatari patron and its not clear whether Iran will be able to woo it back.
My latest article explains.
The reason: Hamas just accepted the same Egyptian peace proposal which it rejected on July 15th.
If it would have accepted that offer then, which Israel did accept, the conflict would have stopped. Many lives would have been saved.
But instead Hamas rejected the deal. It did have its own reasons, one of which was that it was not consulted. Thats understandable. But at least it should have agreed to the ceasefire and negotiated to see where things go. Rejecting the Egyptian offer which called for immediate ceasefire followed by negotiations out of hand put the Arab league on the side of Israel, and against Hamas.
Not only Hamas rejected the offer, it also put its own preconditions for a ceasefire.
Hamas has specifically called for the lifting of Israel’s eight-year blockade on the Gaza Strip, the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and the release of Palestinian prisoners Israel rearrested after freeing them in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011.
And now Hamas has accepted the same ceasefire agreement that was offered on July 15th.
So what happened?
In my opinion because it seems that Israel found an intelligence hole in Hamas’s network and around a week before the actual ceasefire, it started assassinating high ranking Hamas commanders. These included one of its chief financial officers, 3 senior military commanders.
There was also a massive air strike on August 20th which killed the wife and child of chief Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif. Hamas denies that he was killed. Personally, I think he is dead. Its difficult to imagine how he would have survived such a massive attack. If he were alive, Hamas would have released voice of recordings of him to put an end to such reports. This would have also been a massive morale boost for Hamas supporters. But it hasn’t.
Hamas cares much more about its own leaders than innocent Gazans. Once it saw that its leadership is being attacked, it was motivated more than ever to accept immediate ceasefire, which it finally did on August 26th.
So Israel got what it wanted. Hamas agreed to accept a ceasefire, without any preconditions.
Such an achievement will soon become worthless, if the siege against Gaza is not eased to allow exports from Gaza. The economic misery in Gaza will create more wars in the future.
And if Netanyahu does not pursue serious peace negotiations with Abbas after the recent conflict, then he will have betrayed Israel and her citizens.
And please don’t give me this nonsense Likud line that “Abbas is weak, so no point in talking with him”. Netanyahu wants him to take over Gaza. If Abbas is strong enough for Netanyahu to want him to take over Gaza, he is strong enough to talk to and to reach a deal with.
There is so much misery in this region. There are wars, poverty, inequality, extremism. I could go on.
But there is also so much beauty. The Middle East is home to some of the most ancient cultures and traditions, religions and some of the most friendly and hospitable people. It has some of the most breathtaking mountains, deserts and beaches.
One of the most beautiful countries in this region is Iran. You may or may not have known this, especially since all most of what you hear in the news about Iran is negative: terrorism, nuclear program, abuse of human rights etc…
But never judge a country by politicians. This is especially true about Iran.
Remember the golden rule: whatever you think of Iranian politicians, the opposite is most probably true about the people and country of Iran. The latter have little control over the former. Very little.
But don’t let that stop you from learning and enjoying the sights and sounds of Iran. Its an amazing country, filled incredible people. The people of Iran are our friends and regional neighbours.
Enjoy this short and beautiful clip about the land of my birth.
Two days ago I wrote a blog in which I said there are some similarities between Hamas and ISIS, but there are greater number of differences between them. I
then listed the major differences to back my argument which concluded by saying that saying Hamas = ISIS is inaccurate.
And then it started. I was accused of all sorts of things, such as suffering from “Stockholm Syndrome”, “looking at the nice part of the enemy (I.e Hamas), or that I want “Hamas to be treated differently”.
Have you guys read anything I have written in the past? To me Hamas has always been a terrorist organization. Saying it is not the same as ISIS does not mean that I have decided to think of Hamas as a bunch of tree hugging hippies.
Would you be happier if I just switched my brain off and agreed with everything that the government of Israel tells me?
Then whats the point of studying? Whats the point of thinking for yourself? Isn’t democracy meant to create a market place of ideas?
Such inaccurate comparisons also hurt Israel.
When the leader of a country makes inaccurate comparisons, it hurts the credibility of the country and its legitimate concerns, in this case the fight against Hamas. Its important that our leaders don’t play fast and loose with the facts. Netanyahu has done this on other occasions as well, like when he said that in Iran they say “Death to Jews” and that Iran is the new Nazi regime.If we lose our credibility, our enemies win. And this is just one more reason why we have to be honest and exact in our comparisons.
So calm down, and please don’t accuse me of things I did not mean or say.
Today it released photos of what it says are the remains of the alleged Israeli UAV. However it did not show any proof that the UAV belonged to Israel.
There was additional news today from Iran where the IRGC stated that the UAV was not launched directly from Israel.
What is interesting is that the government of Israel has refused to comment on this issue.
We can assume that this could be due to (at least) three reasons:
- The UAV was in fact Israeli, or
- The UAV had nothing to do with Israel. But by staying silent the government of Israel wants to create the perception in Iran that Israel is closely watching the Iranian nuclear program. As senior Haaretz correspondent Amir Oren stated on the i24 news channel last night, “as long as the Iranians believe they are being watched and whatever they do is transparent, this is good for Israel”. This theory is helped by the fact that the UAV news was headlines news in numerous Iranian news outlets today.
- The UAV belonged to another country and its not Israel’s place or business to comment on the military activities of other countries.
Lets see if any new evidence or news emerges over the next few days.
There has recently been a concerted effort by the government of Benjaminn Netanyahu to convince the international community that Hamas and ISIS are the same.
Yes, they are both terrorist organizations. They are both anti – Israel.
However the differences between them are far bigger than the similarities.
I have listed their differences, in order of their importance in descending order.
- Hamas wants to take over Israel, ISIS wants to take over the World.
- Hamas has a military arm as well as a political party, ISIS only has a military wing. It does not have a political party.
- There are Christians living in Gaza under Hamas rule. ISIS is slaughtering anyone who is not Sunni and living under its rule.
- Hamas is negotiating indirectly with Israel. Its difficult to imagine ISIS doing this directly or indirectly.
- The level of cruelty between HAMAS and ISIS can not be compared. As nasty as Hamas is, it has not killed, raped and decapitated men and women on the same scale as ISIS, despite being around since 1988. ISIS has been around for 3 years.