During Ceasefire, Hamas Girds For War
by Joel Himelfarb • Dec 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm
Just three weeks ago Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed an Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire ending eight days of fighting between Israel and the Hamas terror organization that rules Gaza.
Clinton thanked President Mohamed Morsi "for his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence" and declared that his role showed Egypt to be a "cornerstone in regional stability and peace."
Since then, Morsi , a longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has come under increasing fire domestically over Islamist efforts to ram through a controversial new constitution. And there are growing indications that the Gaza ceasefire brokered by the Egyptian leader is tenuous at best.
After last month's fighting, Israel and Hamas began indirect talks mediated by the Morsi-led Egyptian government over border arrangements. Hamas wants Israel to lift what remains of its Gaza blockade, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on an end to the arms smuggling through the tunnels.
During last month's fighting, Israel said it successfully targeted 140 of an estimated 500 tunnels that line the Egypt-Gaza border.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the underground tunnels used to smuggle Iranian rockets that can hit Tel Aviv are "back in business." An AP reporter was shown tunnels that appeared to be reserved exclusively for Hamas weapons smuggling.
For its part, Hamas has said it has no intention of giving up weapons used to target Israel. "These weapons protected us, and there is no way to stop obtaining and manufacturing them," said Mousa Abu Marzook, Hamas' second in command. During a recent visit to Gaza, Hamas boss Khaled Meshaal vowed that the group would continue its armed struggle "to retake Palestine," including Israel, "inch by inch."
Meanwhile, the purportedly moderate Fatah organization headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded to the war by embracing Hamas, which included accepting an invitation to attend the group's 25th anniversary celebration last week in Gaza. Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath, a top adviser to Abbas, went on record praising Hamas "martyrs" during last month's fighting against Israel.
Netanyahu lamented Fatah's backing for Hamas and said Meshaal's calls for Israel's destruction vindicate Israel's refusal to relinquish more territory to the Palestinians. "We have again been exposed to the true face of our enemies. They have no intention of compromising with us," he said.
Reader comments on this item
Michael Harris-the irrational hate monger
Dec 21, 2012 11:48
Press tv and others need to distinguish between irrational hate mongering and political opinions when hiring panelists. Michael Harris is an irrational hater monger and should not be, invited as a guest worthy of contributing constructive solutions to our national problems. Shame on press TV .for having such a ludicrous spokesman on who tries to pull america apart in time of need to find constructive criticisms.