Thursday, May 17, 2007


Death Rattle of Another Mideast Plan - Matthew Kalman
Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton has joined a growing line of American mediators who have come up with intelligent and far-reaching security plans for the Palestinians, only to see their blueprints mown down in a barrage of automatic weapons fire. Dayton's benchmarks, circulated to Israeli and Palestinian leaders last month, called for a phased easing of restrictions on the movement of Palestinians and their goods, the removal of Israeli checkpoints, and the opening of a safe passage across Israel from Gaza to the West Bank. Israel was also to supply weapons and equipment to security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinians were to stop smuggling weapons, explosives and ammunition across the Gaza-Egypt border and to stop firing rockets at Israeli towns from Gaza. Dayton's plan - like those of his well-meaning predecessors - makes sense on paper, yet has proved to be far detached from the grim reality on the ground. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Solution for PA Anarchy? - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)

  • Sderot and western Negev communities are not sustaining Palestinian rocket fire because the Palestinians hope to secure diplomatic-national objectives through their attacks, but rather, because this serves local political and extortion efforts by several dozens of clans and armed groups fighting each other over economic interests and political prestige. In simple terms, Hamas is "exporting" to Israel the responsibility for the massacre carried out by Palestinians against other Palestinians in order to avoid criticism and sanctions from moderate Arab states, and particularly from Saudi Arabia.
  • Control of the street and arms have shifted to dozens of armed groups and clans, with each one clinging to its own agenda and narrow interests. Intelligence officials have identified 47 such groups, with some working on behalf of Iran and others on behalf of global Jihad.
  • The chances of Abbas loyalists overcoming Hamas in a Gaza military clash are slim to none.

Salvation in Occupation - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)

  • Hamas has won every confrontation since fighting started Sunday. Its military dominance and supremacy are clear. Hamas is conducting itself like a military organization: It moves its forces, positions snipers, uses light artillery (mortars, for example), sets up ambushes in strategic locations, and systematically targets Fatah's leadership in Gaza, based on hit lists it has drafted.
  • Fatah's leadership vacuum is the main reason for the group's defeat in the current round. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is still not showing signs of leadership. Mohammed Dahlan managed to rally Fatah's loyalists during the previous round of fighting, but this round caught Dahlan hospitalized in Cairo following back surgery.
  • The Gazans are repeating one clear message: only Israeli occupation will save them. There is no other solution on the horizon.
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