The View from Gaza

Before Israel's assassination of the commander of the Qassam Brigades, Ahmed Jaabari, everyone was aware that Israel was planning to carry out the assassination of leaders of Hamas. It was even published in the Israeli press that Israel has planned to stop rockets from Gaza towards towns in southern Israel would start assassinations and bombing on Hamas movement leaders, governmental officials, and its headquarters in addition to closing the crossings with the Gaza Strip and even stopping to provide them with electricity.

All analysts predicted that the Israeli right-wing government, which announced new elections in Israel on January 22, 2013, will carry out an operation against Hamas in order to ensure the re-election of the right wing parties in Israel.

I do not think that Israel was expecting violent and decisive response to the assassination of the Qassam commander on the afternoon of Wednesday, 14/11/2012. They even did not expect that the Qassam Brigades have rockets which can reach the depth of Israel in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Gush Etzion!!! And instead of the descent of one million of Israelis to shelters, the number became three times what it was in the past.

Now, after four days of violence and counter-violence (40 Palestinians are killed against 3 Israelis), we find that the leaders of the resistance in Gaza are in a better situation than the leaders in Israel, where there were many who were skeptical of the action, while the Hamas government acts of resistance are now in favor of the resistance, which contributes to increasing the popularity of Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank.

As in Israel, which threatens recruiting land troops from reserve soldiers¸ and after the surprises made by Qassam Brigades and the arrival of its missiles to the places nobody expected, the government of Israel, announced that it would stop fighting , bombing and assassinations in case Qassam Brigades will stop firing rockets (Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel Lieberman wanted from this military operation to stop rocket fire, while eliminating Hamas he leaves to the Israeli government to come). I think that the right wing leaders in Israel are afraid of any ground operation against the Gaza Strip. They are probably afraid that this operation may cost them a lot in case of any killing of Israeli soldiers. What we see with the bombings and assassinations in Gaza is nothing but an attempt to appease the Israeli voter, who will stand in front of the ballot box in Israel in about two months!!

It is well known that the number of rockets fired by Palestinian resistance factions until now on Israeli towns increased to 600 missiles, but the real number of rockets that fell on Israeli cities did not exceed 5% of this number, and the remainder either were either shot down by the missiles of the Iron Dome, while the rest fell in open areas and agricultural land, but these 5% of the missiles left the Israeli people in fear and terror.

The arrival of the Egyptian Prime Minister on 16/11/2012 at the head of a delegation of ministers and Egyptian officials is considered a strong message to Israel that Egypt will not leave Gaza in the battle alone, and that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will do all that should be done to relieve their brothers in Gaza in all fields and foremost stop the Israeli war on them.

The Egyptian PM visited Prime Minister Haniyeh of the deposed government in his office in Gaza (one day before it is totally demolished by the Israeli strikes), his letter of intention and the speech during his visit to Shifa Hospital, had connotations which may be considered as promising Egyptian intervention to stop the war on Gaza. Perhaps this war will even lead to an end to Palestinian division, when the Egyptian Prime Minister called for the need for unity of all Palestinian factions under a unified command. He also called for the return of Palestinian unity, which is a call for reconciliation.

After the visit of the Egyptian Prime Minister, came the visit of the Tunisian Foreign Minister (the first pole in the Arab Spring) to the Gaza Strip, in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their leadership in Gaza (the Hamas leadership).

These visits did not occur in the past, and may herald a different development from what was before. And the Israeli government has begun considering the fate of the relationship with Egypt in the case of a continued aggression against the Gaza Strip.

Now the Turkish Prime Minister and his Foreign Minister are visiting Egypt to meet with the Egyptian President, to discuss the issues of the region, including the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip. Also the Emir of Qatar arrived in Cairo (perhaps to pay for re-building what was bombed by Israel). There also may be a quadrant meeting which would include the three leaders and the President of the Political Bureau of the Hamas movement, Khaled Meshaal, in order to discuss the possibility of reaching a cease-fire between the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and Israel, and they are expected to be joined by the leader of the Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shallah who arrived Cairo to ensure a decision to be abide by everyone, and perhaps even to be by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, Riad Malki, who is attending the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, to discuss the possibility of reaching a cease-fire and to stop the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

The emergency meeting of the Arab foreign ministers in the Arab League in Cairo on 17/11/2012, to discuss the Israeli aggression on Gaza, and speeches delivered by the Arab foreign ministers, perhaps send a message to the world that what was allowed in the past would not be accepted at the present time, and that the Arabs, who extended their hands for peace through the Arab Peace Initiative in the year 2002, that was rejected by Israel, should think of other ways in order to give the Palestinian people the right to live in peace like any other people on earth.

I think that the coming few days will see a move toward a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, and perhaps that the Israeli invasion will lead to reaching a Palestinian reconciliation, and perhaps even the return of Arab-Israeli peace to the forefront of events, after being forgotten by the world during the last two years.