Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Meshal Press Conference Shows Success of Israel’s Offensive in Gaza

Today, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal held a press conference on safe turf in Damascus that did nothing more than confirm the Hamas position that Palestine will not release Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped Israeli soldier and teenager, without Israel releasing Palestinian prisoners.  This was Meshal’s firest appearance since Israel’s attempt to assassinate him, and he did not release the location of the conference before the event.

Meshal is trying to assure that Hamas saves some face in this whole incident, as opposed to giving up Shalit without receiving any compensation. This appears to be more important than ever for the group, as Israel’s continued offensive divides the Palestinian people, many of whom have are ready to return to normal life as opposed to the chaos seen in the Gaza Strip over the past 3 weeks.

Already, Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority but not a member of Hamas, has suggested reductions in what Palestine requires in return for the release of Shalit.  And a joint Saudi/Egyptian proposal includes the release of some Palestinian prisoners and Shalit in a deal that also would ease the boycott on Hamas.  Israel has agreed to promise to release prisoners, but will not commit to releases.

Israel shows no signs of letting up the offensive in Gaza.  The Israeli military has already rounded up most Hamas leaders and sent the rest into hiding, it has waged a constant war that has not only included the search for Shalit but also served to prevent the firing of Qassam rockets from Gaza, and have deteriorated life in Gaza to such an extent as to seriously undermine Gaza’s influence amongst the Palestinian people.

In Israel’s eyes, the offensive has been a complete success!

It is doubtful that Israel will accept a proposal that calls for any return of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the safe return of Shalit, so long as the Gaza offensive is effective. Israeli authorities note the lack of support from surrounding Muslim communities as an indicant that the offensive can continue until Shalit is returned or Hamas is removed from power. Even the return of Shalit may not stop the offensive.

Around the world, worries grow as the hostilities in Gaza increase, and the death toll rises.  But in Israel, while everyone mourns the capture of Gilad Shalit, the situation has been an answer to the prayers of the Ehud Olmert administration. It allows Olmert to destroy the Hamas regime, and to bring the Palestinian people to the point where they will welcome back the rule of the Palestinian Authority as opposed to the chaos of life under a Hamas regime.

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Posted by Scottage at 1:20 AM / | |