Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is The Exchange For Shalit A Sign Hamas Is In Trouble?

A joke circulating the territory posits that the reason Hamas's armed wing, Al Qassam Brigades, has stopped firing rockets at Israel is that the fighters' jeeps lack air conditioning. Residents tell stories of Hamas officials who used to drive modest cars now sporting luxury vehicles, and Gazans like Mr. Gamar, the gas station owner, complain the government is reaching into their pockets in every way it can.
Hamas popularity hits a new low after opposing UN statehood bid, Christian Science Monitor

Daniel Cohen writes that there are 4 pressure points being felt by Hamas and that is Why Shalit Coming Home means Hamas is in Trouble:
1) Diminishing popular support
2) Losing headquarters in Damascus
3) Key Al-Qaeda assassinations have weakened terror worldwide
4) The Iranian regime is on thin ice
Read the whole thing for details.

Italy's Il Foglio also attempts to explain why Israel and Hamas agreed to an exchange to free Gilad Shalit now.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon of the Emet m'Tsiyon blog translates and summarizes the post:

Il Foglio's man in Cairo, Daniele Raineri, reports that the Gaza population is running out of patience with Hamas for several reasons, one result being the prisoner exchange which was less than what Hamas was demanding earlier. He quotes from Kristen Chick of the Christian Science Monitor:
"In one year nothing has changed, only the green banners of Hamas are more faded and more ragged and yes, one other thing has changed: the population can really no longer stand the Palestinian Islamic party." (= Hamas) [words of Kristen Chick translated back into English from Italian]
“in un anno non è cambiato nulla, soltanto le bandiere verdi di Hamas sono più sbiadite e più lacere e sì, un’altra cosa è cambiata: la popolazione non ne può davvero più del Partito islamico palestinese” [Italian trans. of Kristen Chick of CSM]
Raineri goes on explain why the Hamas finally came to agreement with Israel on terms for the prisoner release:
  • Abu Mazen's relative success at the UN GA, applause from delegates from all over the world.
  • The relative prosperity of the West Bank zones of the PA compared to Gaza, while taxes are high in Gaza
  • Censorship in Gaza plus bans on demos not approved by Hamas, such as the attempt to demo a couple of months ago against the bombardment by Syrian govt of Palestinian Arab quarters in Latakiya.
  • "The war risk factor" due to continual Hamas "provocations" of Israel plus the internecine struggles with other Palestinian Islamic factions "more fundamentalist" than Hamas
  • "The asphyxiating rigor of Islamic regulations" with violations punished by Hamas
  • For the above reasons producing unpopularity for Hamas, this was the right time for Hamas to play the release of prisoners card
  • The Shalit deal helps the prestige of the present Egyptian govt, the supreme military council, esp. after last Sunday's massacre of Copts
  • The deal also helps the USA.
  • Raineri also claims that due to the Arab Spring, in which Hamas objected to the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria by Assad, Iran has cut back its financial aid to Hamas and thus Hamas is seeking new sponsors, Egypt or Qatar.
While there are clear and solid reasons to oppose the exchange of over one thousand terrorists for Gilad Shalit, there may be some small solace in the fact that the deal is itself a sign of weakness in Hamas--now we can only hope that the deal will not bring about a reversal in Hamas's fortunes.

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1 comment:

Soccer Dad said...

If the reason for Hamas's declining popularity is the corruption - remember they were supposed to be straight unlike Fatah - once the excitement of getting the murderers back fades and Gazans see little or no improvement in their fortunes; Hamas will again be facing massive dissatisfaction.