Many Red Lines Crossed on Road to Gaza War

Analysis

Long Road: Israel and Hamas both took steps that escalated a seemingly minor conflict into a possible devastating ground war.
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Long Road: Israel and Hamas both took steps that escalated a seemingly minor conflict into a possible devastating ground war.

By Reuters

Published November 17, 2012.
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“If we lose them, then we are left with the others only.”

WHY THE KORNET?

Hamas has courted Egyptian support assiduously since the election of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in June. Mursi, however, has so far made clear that while denouncing Israeli “aggression” he will not go beyond diplomatic pressure.

The nuances of Gaza’s militant politics are fine but provide some clues as to how the showdown has escalated.

“Hamas did not claim the Kornet hitting the (Israeli army) jeep. The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) did,” said the source close to Hamas. “It is true Hamas did not condemn it.”

He did not deny that Hamas wanted to change the rules of the game whereby Israel decides when a round of violence will end.

“But assassinating Jaabari was like giving the go-ahead to all Hamas cells to use the equipment, weapons and training they had prepared for a possible war,” he said.

Hamas official and columnist Mustafa Assawaf said Hamas was “not interested in silence forever, or a big escalation”. A shaky new truce was in place thanks to Egyptian mediation, he noted, when Jaabari ventured out fatally onto Gaza’s streets.

“Israel did not respect deals and understandings and after killing Jaabari tough reactions were inevitable even if it would lead to broader confrontation,” he said.

Hamas used greater force to “establish a new formula that Israel is not the only party that owns power and that the resistance has its own tools that can be painful to Israel”.

Assawaf rejected the suggestion that an internal leadership struggle within the movement motivated the rocket gamble.

“Hamas leaders are competing, but not for seats. They are competing for who dies as a martyr and gets into a coffin.”


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