Hit & Run

Fatah, Madoff, and Gaza

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Seeing a political opening, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, while on visit to Egypt, blames Hamas for Israel's assault of Gaza.

"I say in all honesty, we made contact with leaders of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. We spoke with them in all honesty and directly, and after that we spoke with them indirectly, through more than one Arab and non-Arab side. We spoke with them on the telephone and we said to them: We ask of you, don't stop the ceasefire, the ceasefire must continue and not stop, in order to avoid what has happened, and if only we had avoided it."

This is wishful thinking. As Haaretz reported in January, Hamas's popularity was on the decrease but ticked up again the following month when it breached the border wall with Egypt. And the Hamas leadership clearly believes that more radical provocations and acts of "resistance" resonate will Gazans. One can hope that the more moderate Fatah movement will see a boost in popularity, but anecdotal evidence suggests the airstrikes are having the opposite effect. 

At The Atlantic, Jeff Goldberg says that his Fatah friends are actively (albeit furtively) rooting for the Israeli Air Force:

"It's a strange world, but there you have it. I've been talking to friends of mine, former Palestinian Authority intelligence officials (ejected from power by the Hamas coup), and they tell me that not only are they rooting for the Israelis to decimate Hamas, but that Fatah has actually been assisting the Israelis with targeting information."

Tim Butcher, the Middle East correspondent for London's right-leaning Telegraph, slams Israel's strikes on Gaza, claiming the decision to attack was politically motivated (elections are forthcoming) and will only increase Palestinian attacks on Israel.

The craziest comment of the day comes from Vanity Fair's house hysteric James Walcott. One can only hope he is joking:

"In angry retaliation for the house arrest of Bernie Madoff, Israel has launched a hellacious air assault against Hamas in Gaza that errs so far on the side of disproportionality that its running up the fatality score may become self-defeating."

For an informed, civilized, left-right discussion of the situation in Gaza—one that avoids speculation that crooked Jewish financiers are the real casus belli of the Gaza offensive—checkout Heather Hurlburt and Eli Lake on Blogginheads here

Update: I should have added this very good piece by Michael Weiss (who has previously contributed to reason here). He asks a very important—and very often overlooked—question about the root causes of Hamas's Qassam rocket attacks:

…[W]hy is it that the corollary is never asked: namely, how does Hamas radicalize Israeli sentiment? A much remarked-upon fact of the last 72 hours is that Israel's ultra-left-wing party Meretz has endorsed Operation Cast Lead, a development that should concern partisans of both sides. If there is merit to the "root causes" argument, then surely it applies to the decisions undertaken by a Jewish policy as much as it does to those undertaken by a Muslim one. Or does a belligerent Israeli consensus form in a vacuum?