Thursday, January 24, 2008

What She Said. She Being Helena Cobban.

I had expected 2008 to be a firework-less year in the Middle East. A stalemate has been reached in Lebanon that everyone is more or less comfortable with. An agreement between Abbas and Olmert cannot be reached because of structural reasons on both sides but they both have reasons to continue pretending to go through the motions. An agreement has to have been reached between the US and Iran over Iraq and Iran's nuclear program that both sides are comfortable with through the end of Bush's term.

But now Hamas has broken out of its blockade. This is Hamas' biggest victory yet. Bigger than winning the elections, bigger than getting Saudi support for a unity government and bigger than its removal of Abbas/Dahlan forces from Gaza. This is a huge victory that destroys the US/Israel/PA narrative that Hamas is stubbornly bringing destitution to Gaza and Palestinians should be realistic to accept US/Israeli terms for cooperation.

Helena Cobban's coverage of this has been by far the best I've come across in the blogosphere.

There's a joke from Europe in the early 1900s that a Jew asks another why he reads the anti-semitic newspapers. The reader says, "This is the only place I can go for good news. Look at this, the Jews control this, the Jews dominate that ..."

Israel's Debka File is becoming one of the best places for anti-Zionist news. They were an early source that commented on the obvious breakthrough between Iran and the US, but when they claimed earlier this week that Hamas would use the electricity crisis to take control of the Rafah border crossing I thought they were being overly alarmist. Turns out they were underly alarmist, as Hamas took down not the border crossing, but the entire border.

(Debka File is not perfect. I never believed their assessment that Israel planned and the US authorized an Israeli takeover of enough Gaza territory to establish bases that Israel would then turn over to Abbas. But Debka File gets a pass on that because even if it had been true, recent events would have forced the cancellation of those plans.)

I'm now shocked by the total lack of response from Israel and the US to this game changing development. I can only figure they are paralyzed by the scope of it and what it can mean.

  1. At minimum blockades cannot work any more.
  2. Israel now cannot prevent Hamas from delivering a better quality of life in Gaza than Abbas can deliver in the West Bank.
  3. The hope that the Palestinian people would learn their lesson and never elect Hamas again has been dashed.
  4. Hamas now has access to all the concrete it wants to build Hezbollah-style fortifications in Gaza - meaning an Israeli ground assault is moving off of the table.
  5. Hamas can upgrade its rocket weaponry nearly without limit now.

Debka File reports these developments as, according to its Israeli military sources, "irreversible". This is a serious short, medium and long term setback for Zionism in that case.

1 comment:

American Goy said...

Silly you.

Of course there is a response. Consists of two things:
1) Official ignoring of the issue, pictures on TV of Gazans joyfully buying food, water, gasoline, medicine in Egypt

2) Huge behind the scenes pressure on Egyptian government, to close the border again ASAP, otherwise the US aid money funds are cut.

Effect - this is a non story in the world right now, and the wall is going back up again.

Welcome to your Berlin Wall, part 2 - Middle East edition.