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Gaza Tragedy - Waiting for Barak?

01/10/2009

The Gaza tragedy continues on its inevitable course. Despite the carnage reportedly inflicted by Israel in Gaza, the Hamas rejected Egypt's cease fire plan and Hamas rejected the UN cease fire call. Clearly, the Hamas want to give Israel more time in Gaza.

The Alqassam Website explains why. The Website is operated by the Izzedine Al Qassam Brigades, armed wing of the Hamas. The English version at http://www.alqassam.ps/english/ has not been updated in several days, but the Arab version provides updates that spell out the Hamas strategy explicitly. One article explains that the Land battle with the enemy did not start ... The resistance is fully prepared and according to another, Hamas: Big surprises waiting for the occupation ... The resistance has used only 40% of capacity. The articles explain:

: The land battle has not started yet and the Palestinian resistance has used only 40% of its capacity in the battle on the edge of the Gaza Strip.

....The sources noted that the units of snipers and suicide bombers and booby-trapped houses and cars and thousands of fighters from the field units equipped with improvised explosive devices and rocket-launching persons and teams are not yet participating in the battle on the edge of the sector.

The sources pointed out that the artillery units assigned to the firing of mortar shells and rockets will operate out of thousands of cells of the resistance and deploy in the field and take their places in the streets and alleys, waiting for the battle between the alleys of refugee camps and neighborhoods.

The sources confirmed the fact that the war is expected to peak with the resistance meeting face to face with Israeli soldiers, noting that it was possible to increase the number of martyrs to more than ten thousand dead and thousands injured in the risk of heavy losses on the enemy.

The prospect of ten thousand Palestinian "martyrs" promised by Hamas is no doubt meant to cheer the supporters of Palestinian cause. In another article that boasts "'Qassam' bomb the largest air base with 'Grad' [missile] for the first time," the Website states:

We in al-Qassam Brigades announce it on this task to assure that the jihadist enemy doing this folly has resulted in luring soldiers into the trap prepared by the Mujahdona for them, the Zionists who are waiting on pins and needles to teach lessons in martial arts, and time will prove how stupid this Albarak [Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak] was when he decided to enter Gaza."

This might be dismissed as propaganda. However, the fact remains that the Hamas rejected the cease fire, and likewise, that Israel has evidently postponed the next phase of the ground offensive. Either the Hamas believe they are going to win, or they are gambling that the Israelis believe it. As usual, the Hamas strategy is "Heads we win, tails you lose," modeled on the successful Hezbollah strategy of the Second Lebanon War. If Israel refrains from widening the attack, the Hamas can proclaim victory as they have withstood the Israeli onslaught. If Israel widens the ground assault, Hamas might not kill quite as many Israeli soldiers as they promise, but they will most likely fulfill their goal of 10,000 "martyrs," and Israel will lose the battle for world public opinion.

Israel has a right to defend itself, but it is pointless to kill Palestinians and get IDF soldiers killed without achieving the goal of security for the Western Negev. Meanwhile, Hamas and the world are waiting for Barak and the Israeli government to make up their minds.

[Update: IDF is already dropping leaflets warning that it is about to step up the Gaza offensive.]

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000739.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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