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Here we go again

Hamas has broken yet another ceasefire (have any Israel-bashers noticed a pattern here?) and resumed rocket launches into Israel.

What do they expect to achieve this time around? A more compliant Israel– one that will allow access to more weapons and concrete to build more attack tunnels in exchange for a “permanent” truce? Fat chance. More “martyrs” to display to the outside world? They may have reached a point of diminishing returns on that.

And how will the blame-Israel-first-and-always crowd react as it becomes increasingly clear that it is Hamas, not Israel, which seeks to prolong the Gaza conflict? (Yes, I know…)

Of course Israel needs to respond to the rocket fire, but I think it would be a mistake to launch an all-out assault on Gaza– at least for now. It is better to let the unhappiness of Gazans with Hamas manifest itself. I doubt this latest renewal of hostilities will have beleaguered and exhausted Gazans dancing for joy.

As I’ve written before, Israel needs to do everything in its power to drive a wedge between Hamas and the mass of Palestinians. It’s time for some fresh thinking on how to do this.

Meanwhile the facade of unity between Hamas and Fatah isn’t fooling anyone.

The Times of Israel reported:

While Palestinian negotiators in Cairo strained to present a unified front in ceasefire talks with Egypt and Israel Sunday, Fatah continues to showcase stories of intimidation and physical assault against its members in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

One Fatah official, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal against his party members in Gaza, told The Times of Israel on Sunday that as many as 250 Fatah members in the Strip have been told by Hamas to stay home throughout Operation Protective Edge, and as many as 125 were shot at by Hamas operatives when they refused to comply. Ten victims of gunshots to the legs have been transferred to hospitals in Ramallah and Nablus in the West Bank, he added.

“They [Hamas] don’t want Fatah’s voice to appear in Gaza,” the official said. “They may be afraid of a Fatah revolution.”

The ToI also reported:

According to the Israeli Shin Bet security service, the dozens of Hamas operatives arrested in the West Bank over May and June were not only tasked with igniting a third popular uprising in the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority, but also with toppling its leader, Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian president, official news agency Wafa reported, promptly instructed his men to investigate the Israeli allegations. But, giving credence to the information, Abbas said that its “implications for the Palestinian and regional situation will be extremely dangerous.”

“Given the unity government, this new information gravely endangers the unity of the Palestinian people and its future,” he added.

Abbas was no doubt intimately acquainted with the evidence against Hamas before he issued such a damning and dramatic statement.

What’s notable here is that Abbas does not dismiss the Shin Bet report as Israeli propaganda, but appears to take it seriously.

Pro-forma denunciations of Israel by the Palestinian Authority should be taken for what they’re worth.