News Analysis: Hamas faces dilemma in keeping Gaza’s peace
|English.news.cn 2011-01-16 01:54:53|
by Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — The deposed Hamas government announced last week that it had reached a deal with other factions and militant groups to maintain calm in the Gaza Strip to avoid another destructive Israeli war on the coastal enclave since 2007.
According to Hamas, the leaders of the factions attended the meeting on Wednesday accepted the deal and refrained from firing mortars and homemade rockets to Israel. However, unknown militants refused to respect the deal and fired two rockets on Friday at Israel.
<Militants. Yeah! They mean COMMANDO’s. The special forces of HAMAS>
The deposed premier of Hamas government Ismail Haneya has given instructions to his interior affairs minister and chiefs of security to restore calm, and hundreds of security and police personnel were deploying along the border between the enclave and Israel.
ARMED RESISTANCE OR NOT
Palestinian observers in Gaza told Xinhua that although restoring calm and maintaining a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is a national Palestinian interest because it avoids Israel to wage another war on Gaza, there are no guarantees that the peace would last for long.
Naji Shurab, the political science professor at the Gaza-based al-Azhar University believed that it is obvious that there are no guarantees for the ceasefire to continue, “I don’t think it will last for too long because there are some smaller militant groups which don’t like the idea,” he told Xinhua.
On Friday Haneya told prayers at a Gaza mosque that security in the Gaza Strip is stable and there are “frivolous hands that want to disturb security.” Meanwhile, Haneya said in another occasion that Hamas movement still stick to the armed resistance against Israel.
“Hamas leaders’ statements are contradictory. Some said that maintaining the peace in Gaza doesn’t mean that Hamas has abandoned the armed resistance against Israel, but at the same time, if the ceasefire lasts for too long, it means that the choice of resistance has been dropped,” said Shurab.
Not only Hamas leaders, but also other leaders of extreme Islamic factions and left-wing fronts and parties believe that the Israeli provocations, such as limited incursions at the borders with the Gaza Strip “will be the real test for keeping the calm in Gaza.”
Hani Habib, a Gaza-based political analyst told Xinhua on telephone that there are two factors for keeping Gaza calm. “The first is that Israel has to stop its provocations, and the second depends on other smaller factions and groups who try to break the calm.” he said.
“If Israel continues its military provocations against the Palestinians, mainly near the borders, this would encourage the factions and its militants to break the ceasefire,” said Habib.
Since Wednesday’s meeting, one homemade rocket was fired on Friday, and there was an attempt late Friday night to launch a home-made rocket at Israel. In both cases, there was no Israeli retaliation, which shows that Israel is also ready to cooperate.
NO POSSIBLE INTERNAL CONFLICT
The political analysts disagreed on the possibility of armed confrontations between Hamas security forces and other Palestinian groups which reject the ceasefire, if Hamas government in the Gaza Strip tries to maintain the ceasefire by force.
“I don’t believe that there will be any armed conflict in the Gaza between Hamas government and the militants who reject the ceasefire,” said Habib. “Hamas will try to keep the balance, it will be tough in restoring calm and diplomatic at the same time protecting its popularity.”
However, Shurab said that Hamas is a resistance movement ” usually get its legitimacy from the armed resistance, so if Hamas imposes calm by force, it will mean that it is losing its legitimacy.”
Although ordinary Palestinians in the Gaza Strip expressed happiness that there won’t be another destructive and bloody operation Cast Lead, they are still suspicious about whether Palestinians’ action and Israel’s reaction, or the calm would last for long amid the deteriorated daily life.