By Ted Belman
I think so.
IRIS Blog adds fuel o the fire,
No mainstream news source has reported the clear truth about the Fatah-Hamas ‘war’–there wasn’t any. Fatah never fought.
It has been common knowledge that journalists in Palestinian areas do not report on stories that gunmen do not want publicized, either because of intimidation or ideological affinity. However, one brave blogger wrote up his interviews with Fatah gunmen who were given orders not to fight at all.
Whether the cause was conspiracy or not, two facts are certain:
1) The enormous resources provided to Fatah to resist the Hamas takeover of Gaza were essentially unused and are now in the hands of Hamas to attack Israel.
2) Enormous resources are now being provided to Fatah to fight Hamas in the West Bank.
Amir Taheri writing in NY POST, Can Hamas actually Rule? advises
[..] Fatah had some 60,000 armed men in Gaza, a strip of land covering some 65 square miles. It also had heavy cannons and rocket-propelled grenades, which Hamas lacked. Yet even Fatahâ€™s four chief bases of al-Hawa, al-Muntadam, Sarayah and al-Safineh, claimed to be impregnable, fell in just a few hours, as their defenders fled.
So what happened? After all, the CIA had been training these forces for years. Taheri suggests a rationale
If Israel, the West Bank, the Europeans and the United Nations let Hamas stew in its juices in Gaza, the Islamist movement might well collapse under the weight of the stripâ€™s economic problems and social tensions.
Martin Indyk wrote in the Washington Post
When fighting began this time, Fatah did little in the West Bank to counter Hamasâ€™s onslaught. Abbasâ€™s passivity further confirms that the fix was in. Abbas and Fatah have in effect conceded Gaza to Hamas while they hold on to the West Bank. Hamastan and Fatahstine.
Others are asking questions,
Fatah’s swift collapse drew sharp criticism from some of the faction’s representatives. Hatem Abdel Kader, a top Fatah operative in the West Bank, called for a commission of inquiry to determine who was responsible.
Another senior Fatah official in the West Bank launched a scathing attack on Abbas and the Fatah leadership, holding them responsible for the Hamas victory. “We want to know why we lost the battle in the Gaza Strip,” he said. “Those responsible for the defeat must pay the price.”
Within a day of the collapse, Abbas, who is not known for decisiveness, sprang into action. He appointed Salam Fayyad, a Western-backed independent deputy, to serve as prime minister of an emergency government.
Notice he didn’t appoint Dahlan his security man to lead the fight against Hamas but instead appointed Fayyad, the Western favourite. Dahlan was conveniently out of the country. The purpose of forming a new government was not to fight Hamas and recover Gaza but to remove obstacles to western aid flowing in.
So what if Fatah had to abandon 50,000 rifles, millions of rounds of ammunition, tracks, jeeps and other weapons. A small price to pay.
Like clockwork, we read
US to continue training Abbas’ guard
Olmert: Israel can talk to a PA without Hamas
Fatah security adviser says Gaza is now Hamas’ responsiblity
Embargo to be lifted
Fatah members transferred to West Bank
Israel will not interfere in Gaza.
All within twenty four hours. And it all happened just a couple days after Mofaz was in Washington to discuss military coordination and days before Olmert was to visit Bush. How fortuitous. Usually something of this magnitude would result in the leader of a country staying home. But not here.
So you tell me, did they take a dive? Was the US and Israel behind it?
Of course. The US determined that Hamas was an obstacle to progress. A decision was made to cut Gaza loose and to focus on the West Bank First option, effectively separating the “peace process” with Fatah from the war process with Hamas.
According to Martin Indyk,
This turn of events would free Abbas to focus on the much more manageable West Bank, where he can depend on the Israel Defense Forces to suppress challenges from Hamas, and on Jordan and the United States to help rebuild his security forces. As chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and president of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas is empowered to negotiate with Israel over the disposition of the West Bank. Once he controls the territory, he could make a peace deal with Israel that establishes a Palestinian state with provisional borders in the West Bank and the Arab suburbs of East Jerusalem.
Unfortunately Olmert is a willing participant to this plan. DEBKA advises that
Hamas has not triumphed, they (Olmert and Livni) say, but offered Israel the chance of a fresh start to separate Gaza, a mere â€œterrorist entity,â€ from the West Bank. There, a Hamas-free regime led by Abbas is a fit partner for peace diplomacy.
[..] It was this thinking that led him to heed the advice, which DEBKAfileâ€™s military sources report came from chief of staff Lt. Gen Gaby Ashkenazi – and was opposed by the OC Southern Command Brig. Gen Yoav Galant – to refrain from interfering in the Hamas takeover.
But that does not mean the makeshift strategy Olmert & Co. have cooked up can be made to work any better than their previous, largely passive, policies.
I am sure Hamas will prevent it.
Olmert is trying to avoid the advice of former Israeli national security adviser Gen (ret.) Giora Eiland .
Eiland was the only defense official at the time to oppose disengagement as a recipe for bringing Iran and al Qaeda to Israelâ€™s borders. Having been proved correct, he now proposes to limit the damage by recapturing the Philadelphi route and the southern outskirts of Palestinian Rafah, flatten the houses there and evict 15,000-20,000 people.
Gaza must be cut off from Israel to block Hamas and its Iranian and Syrian sponsorsâ€™ path to a second victory on the West Bank.
The cutoff would apply to humanitarian aid. Let the Arab world deal this time with Gazaâ€™s distress and pump aid to the Rafah crossing via Egypt.
DEBKA is not entirely right.
On May 31/07 I wrote Declare Gaza an hostile political entity
A week ago I posted that Giora Eiland was proposing that Gaza be treated as a separate political entity from Judea and Samaria. It was announced that this â€œwould threaten the future of the Palestinian stateâ€ which he considered as a positive.
Now Avigdor Leiberman also wants to Declare Gaza hostile political entity and an enemy state.
The planâ€™s main points include complete severance of ties with the Gaza Strip, isolating the Strip from the West Bank, bombing Gaza in retaliation of Qassam attacks, canceling Palestinian prisonersâ€™ visitation rights until kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is released, and ending all contact with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Isn’t that exactly what’s happening?
And now Barak, who was just appointed Minister of Defense is planning
within weeks to crush Hamas in Gaza, it was reported on Sunday morning.
Britain’s Sunday Times quoted senior IDF sources as saying that the planned Gaza assault would require 20,000 troops to destroy the bulk of Hamas’s military capability in a few days.
I hope so. Otherwise, I fear for Israel