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July 20, 2006
Hamas: Uh, Dudes, We're Not With Hezbollah

The Jerusalem Post reports tonight that Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas have agreed in principle to meet in an attempt to resolve the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit and allow the Palestinians to disconnect their issues from the Hezbollah fighting. That apparently comes from Hamas as well, which has determined that association with the Iranian-backed terrorist group may be bad for their leaders' health:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is "actively" planning for a long-delayed meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, sources close to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Thursday.

The sources said that Solana was told of the preparations during his meeting with Olmert and senior members of his staff in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

According to the sources, Egypt has stepped up efforts to forge an agreement for the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, which would be followed some time later by an Israeli release of Palestinian prisoners as a "good will gesture" to Abbas. ...

The source said that Hamas in Gaza believed that releasing Shalit would distinguish Hamas from Hizbullah, and that Palestinian leaders in Gaza realized it "is dangerous for the Palestinians to be seen in the same bag as Hizbullah." He said that if Hamas showed that it understood that what was happening in the north was not good for them and released Shalit, it could win them some credit with the international community, primarily with Europe.

Both Hamas and Hezbollah have put themselves into bad positions by underestimating Israeli resolve in fighting back against terrorist actions. Hamas may have thought they had seen the extent of Israeli action, but the fighting in Lebanon shows that Israel has taken this more seriously than they have in decades. If Hezbollah had not invaded Israel and kidnapped two more soldiers, Gaza could have been much worse off if Israel decided to take the gloves off there as well.

Apparently, Hamas does not want to follow in Hezbollah's footsteps. The Hamas gamble has not paid off, and now it has created even more misery and destruction for the Palestinians. Khaled Mashaal may want the kidnappers to stand firm, but the actual political leadership knows that the global community gets less sympathetic to the plight of terrorists bu the minute in the current environment. They want some kind of negotiated solution that will get their assembly delegates out of Israeli jails and begin working on a unity government with Abbas once more.

Olmert holds the trump cards in this hand. Hamas has no more leverage, except for Shalit, and holding him becomes more of a liability with each passing day. Not only have they lost all the international aid the Palestinians received before their election, now they have seen Gaza set back twenty years in development. They have managed to put the Palestinians in a much poorer position than ever. If the Palestinians ever get tired of fighting, they will make Hamas pay for all of that damage.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 20, 2006 10:40 PM

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» Lots Of Fighting, Little Change from Hard Starboard
On the long-forgotten Gaza front, the political front-men of Hamas can no longer hide the fact that they were figureheads all along for the terror gang's true leader, Khaled Mashaal, in Hamas' true capital, Damascus. Small wonder, then, that they're ... [Read More]

Tracked on July 25, 2006 1:38 AM

» Captain Gives No Quarter in Mid-East Coverage from Sneakeasy's Joint
While most bloggers, like myself, have to be content with tossing their 2 cents in ( Debating a Moonbat in the process ), on the fracas between Israel and Hezbollah, only on occasion, others are marshalling their talents, and resources, [Read More]

Tracked on July 25, 2006 2:14 PM


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