Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ghassan Khatib, "War crimes in Gaza put PA in awkward place," BitterLemons, December 29, 2008.

  ...the call to open the Rafah crossing and criticism of Egypt for failing to do so became the main rallying call in almost all solidarity demonstrations across the Arab world.


In spite of the heavy material and human losses, the Israeli attack on Gaza is strengthening Hamas politically and increasing public support and sympathy for the movement. Hamas is using this momentum to achieve an end to the closure of Gaza, not by Israel opening the crossings it controls but by Egypt opening Rafah. The irony here is that if Rafah is opened on Hamas' terms, is will also secure a significant Israeli strategic objective, namely handing over effective responsibility for Gaza to Egypt.

In the meantime, the war in Gaza is also affecting the balance of power between the two main rival factions in Palestine, Fateh and Hamas. The Israeli attack has increased public sympathy and support for Hamas because it is the target of these attacks and because it is trying to fight back. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, meanwhile, finds itself in an awkward and difficult position.

For one thing, it has been marginalized and has been the target of criticism while being compared unfavorably with the role and position of Hamas in Gaza.

Read the rest here =>
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