Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Cease-Fire / A tunnel at the end of the light

This is a very interest analysis of the Palastinian-Israeli cease fire from Israel.
Hamas's strategy worked. In return for symbolic concessions to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas - and due mostly to its employment of force against Israel and the Israel Defense Forces' failure to put an end to the launching of Qassam rockets - Hamas is reaping a major achievement. And anyone who is wondering whether the cease-fire will enable Hamas to become stronger should remember that following the group's electoral victory, Israel decided that it would not allow Hamas to consolidate its power unless it met a number of conditions. These conditions have not been met.

The positive aspect of the cease-fire, for both sides, is the fact that Abbas, who seeks to resume diplomatic negotiations, succeeded in arranging it. However, Abbas is also trying to remove the economic boycott of the Gaza Strip and gain international recognition for a Palestinian government in which Hamas will be a leading partner. This can be viewed as a victory for Abbas, but it is clearly also a victory for Hamas.

Hamas's concessions will be symbolic: replacing the prime minister, and appointing a foreign minister affiliated with the organization, but who has a moderate worldview. Hamas showed no flexibility over the conditions presented to it by the international community (recognizing Israel, relinquishing violence and accepting previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements). Abbas will conduct the negotiations with Israel, and Hamas will run the PA. Its control will be looser, assuming that it gives up control of the Interior Ministry and the security services. Nonetheless, if various countries now rush to recognize Hamas, its victory will be complete - and Israel's failure will be great.

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