lifted from Haaretz.com
Just as there has been no mention of the murder of two IDF soldiers, one day apart, cruel hanging in Gaza, harassment of anybody who does not think the officially approved thoughts on the West Bank, and many other stories. But we have been spoon fed how Netanyahu spoke in New York, and a very sparse on actual facts summary by the NTB on Israel’s sharp criticism of the Council of Europe’s call for banning circumcision within the EU
Gaza again under blockade, but not by Israel
Under Egyptian pressure, Hamas has launched a campaign against resistance groups planning attacks on Israel.By Moshe Elad | Sep. 24, 2013 | 6:30 AM |
Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas (l) with deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. Photo by AP
Moshe EladAn Arab proverb says: “Hit the saddle, the horse will understand.” Egyptian General Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi is striking hard at the terrorist cells in the Sinai peninsula – and the Hamas government in Gaza already understands where the Egyptian minister of defense and head of the military government is heading. For now, the target of the Egyptian offensive may be the Salafists and Bedouins in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid, but the Gaza Strip already feels the heavy hand of the Egyptian regime: The tunnels have been collapsing on top of their smugglers and this cheap and worthwhile economic channel is starting to disappear. On the other side, purchases from Israel are becoming more and more problematic, since there is no cash in Gaza. This time, the feeling really is one of blockade.
The Egyptians started the blockade on Gaza for another reason, too: The interim government in Cairo sees Hamas as the ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, an alliance that poses real danger. It is possible that el-Sisi fears that if the Muslim Brotherhood moves to terrorist operations, Hamas – an organization considered expert in terror – will be asked to lead deadly operations throughout the Egyptian Republic. The Brothers, it should be remembered, have not dealt in terror since the 1990s; if they do decide to act, they may well call on their brothers from Gaza to stand with them.
But it seems the Egyptian warning was understood. Hamas leaders Haled Mashal and Ismail Haniyehresponded with a magnificent show of responsibility. For example, Hamas recently created rapid intervention units, charged with locating and stopping terror cells trying to attack – heaven forbid – Israel. Who will remove the dust from your eyes, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin? Would you have believed that the movement you founded would become a subcontractor for the IDF’s security work?
Meshal and Haniyeh are lucky that the Syrian crisis has overshadowed the sensational headlines from Gaza. The Hamas units were ordered to strive for zero terror attacks against Israel and zero patience against the terrorist cells in the Gaza Strip known as the “recalcitrants.” There have been widespread arrests of “resistance operatives” in recent days. Yes, those who resist the “resistance,” as Hamas is called, are being arrested. These activities are being broadcast on Al Jazeera and reported in Arab newspapers – and are being done “without the [Israeli] High Court of Justice and the B’Tselem [human rights organization],” as the late Yitzhak Rabin used to ridicule. If the Egyptians don’t take care, the leaders of Hamas may even get rid of their rocket stockpiles.
But it is not just the “recalcitrant” opposition that Hamas is suppressing. In the spirit of the times, the first signs of non-religious civil protest are beginning to appear; the protest of residents against the Muslim Brotherhood movement. The Tamarod (rebellion) movement in the Gaza Strip, similar in name to its Egyptian big brother, has already announced its desire for a government that would allow Gaza residents to live normal lives. Hamas’ reaction was immediate: A broad wave of arrests, in which the remainder of Fatah and human rights activists, journalists and bloggers suspected of bearing the Egyptian message were swept up.
Yes, the Gaza Strip is under blockade – but this time it’s not Israel’s doing. The residents of Gaza say they will never forgive the Egyptians for making them miss … Israel. The daily lines at gas stations, the skyrocketing price of food and the shortage of some basic goods, alongside the closing to the Gaza public of the Egyptian border crossing; all this should be shown to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. They are the ones who described the period of May 2010 as the “Israeli blockade” and rushed to send off the Mavi Marmara to remove the blockade. Now they will be forced to find a new definition of what is happening in Gaza.
Dr. Moshe Elad is a lecturer at Western Galilee College.