Israel is kowtowing to Hamas

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Opinion: The IDF eliminated Islamic Jihad commander Abu al-Ata, who was opposed to Hamas rule over the Gaza Strip; but even those who engineered his death knew that it was neither the problem nor the solution to the coastal enclave’s woes – the issue was and remains the terror group’s conduct

Alex Fishman – www.ynetnews.com

It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that the incendiary balloons sent from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli population centers were launched by Hamas.

The main reason behind the renewed launches lies in the current diplomatic impasse and friction between the terror group and Egypt.

The Egyptians punished Hamas after its political leader Ismail Haniyeh went to Tehran for the funeral of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, rising gas prices and creating a temporary fuel shortage in the coastal enclave.

Hamas, which doesn’t dare to tussle with Egypt, is instead venting its frustration at Israel.

Its is unclear why Israeli defense officials are covering for Hamas and tell the public that the balloons were launched by “renegades” attempting to sabotage the ongoing talks between the Jewish State and the Gaza-based group.

It is no mere deception that is being created by the men and women of the National Security Council, who are behind the current talks with Hamas with fevered support from the IDF top brass.

It is an attempt to market the Israeli public a false reality while all the while being aware of its artificiality.

The National Security Council is a political body in the service of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the army has assessed Gaza as secondary border, unworthy of any serious military attention.

Jerusalem clearly understood Hamas’ message, and unwilling to anger the organization’s leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, sent 14 trucks load of gas into the enclave, breaking the rightfully implemented Egyptian sanctions.

Israel itself should have reacted negatively to the strengthening intimate relationship between Hamas and Tehran, but Netanyahu and Defense Minister Naftali Bennet only want to challenge the organization not kill it.

Meanwhile, the Egyptians realized that Israeli gas might make a return to Gaza and hamper their plans, and so immediately transferred 240 tons of liquid gas to the enclave – still at a higher price, but a reasonable one.

Now all Hamas has to do is to choose which gas supplier it prefers and if it doesn’t like something, Israel gets punished, regardless of the source of the angst.

This is nothing short of an insane defense policy.

Both IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and Shin Bet security service Director Nadav Argaman tell the public that the killing of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu Al-Ata in November paved the way towards an agreement with Hamas.

Yet this is just a conspiracy created in the minds of experts such as the Military Intelligence Directorate, the Civil Authority in the West Bank and many other organizations.

Hamas, unfortunately, is not going along with this theory.

Sure, Israel killed Abu al-Ata, a main opponent of Hamas in Gaza, but even those who oversaw the operation knew that his death was not a casualty of the search for calm in the enclave.

The incendiary balloons and the threats by the terror group are evidence of the fact that Hamas has changed nothing regarding its day-to-day policies, with or without agitation from Abu al-Ata.

When Hamas gets what it wants, it will calm down for a brief period and if it is in anyway displeased with the pace of talks with Israel – it will express that displeasure with rocket fire.

The halt in the “March of Return” protests along the Gaza border fence is not a byproduct of the talks; Hamas simply understood their pointlessness, along with the casualties and the Gaza population’s decreasing motivation to participate.

The Israeli government has deliberately adopted a policy meant to hurt and weaken the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, while simultaneously keeping Hamas as a threat over its head.

The main objective is as crystal clear: no talks on the future of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

And as long as the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority is in conflict with Hamas, it is dependent on Israel.

Such a scenario will allow the religious-Zionist defense minister to expand control over the West Bank and give his constituency a shopping list of promises: New nature reserves on disputed territory; expanded dominion in Area C; facilitating further construction in the Jewish settlement in Hebron.

These announcements, together with the continued tensions between Jews and Palestinians on the Temple Mount, cranks up the tensions further and further and are a recipe for a renewed flareup in the West Bank.

At some point, the crank will break – and maybe that’s just what our leaders want.

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