July 20, 2014

"WILL YOU WALK INTO MY PARLOR?"

Sunday bloody Sunday (AVI ISSACHAROFF, July 20, 2014, Times of srael)

Video uploaded to the internet in recent hours includes horrific footage of bodies strewn in the streets, and greatly exaggerated claims are emerging of a massacre as horrendous as the one in Sabra and Shatila in 1982. Thousands of the neighborhood's residents have fled to seek refuge in UNRWA schools and in hospitals.

The difficult pictures will likely turn the tide of international public opinion, which has so far been relatively sympathetic toward Israel's campaign in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which has refused an Egyptian ceasefire proposal, seems far from breaking. On the contrary, the organization's top brass is confident and determined to continue fighting in order to achieve a strategic diplomatic coup vis-a-vis its international standing and the status of the Gaza Strip. [...]

The question, then, is whether Hamas's achievements could be the very thing that will prompt it to change its tack and seek a ceasefire. The problem, however, is that footage of multiple civilian casualties in Shejaiya only plays into Hamas's hands and makes it stronger. The organization wants to see many civilian casualties in order to bring about strong international criticism of Israel and pressure from Cairo on Jerusalem to accede to Hamas's demands. Khaled Mashaal, the Hamas political leader, has been sitting tight in Qatar, refusing even to accept an Egyptian invitation to fly to Cairo to discuss a truce. Mashaal knows full well that Hamas's political leaders and military capabilities have barely been damaged by the Israeli campaign; it can still fire rockets at Israeli population centers, and the network of bunkers dug under Gaza enable it to target a growing number of IDF soldiers.

Mashaal is set to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday in Doha. Abbas will likely entreat him to accept an Egyptian proposal and hold his fire. But in all likelihood, Mashaal, certain that victory is in his grasp, will refuse.
Posted by at July 20, 2014 8:10 AM
  
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