Hamas has apparently won the battle for Gaza. It didn’t seem too hard for them and it didn’t take too long. Clearly their training in Iran and Syria has been helpful in making them far better fighters than the Fatah guys.
This is interesting because Hamas was democratically elected to run the PA. Then, they agreed to share governing with Fatah on the basis of a Saudi-brokered deal but almost immediately had difficulty accepting the power-sharing arrangements. In the meantime, both Israel and the US perceived strong weakness on the part of Fatah, which they consider more “moderate” than Hamas (apparently nationalism is less fanatical than religious faith) and ended up sending them money (tens of millions) and some weaponry.
The weapons and money are either already in the hands of Hamas or soon will be. Hamas will also shortly become the de facto leading voice for the Palestinians. In theory, they could also choose not to run elections ever again, since they will now become the only armed fighting force in Gaza, or they could run manipulated elections. After all, if they give up power in an election to Fatah, many people will seek revenge for all of the killings of the past months of fighting.
Hamas taking over may have other implications. Will they allow Fatah to survive? Can they restrict Fatah in any way and if so, how?
Will Gaza become Islamist in its outlook? Will Sha’aria law be the guiding law? If so, what will their model be? Will it be Iran, Taliban in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia? Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, so this isn’t idle speculation.
Additionally, we have learned that they blew up a Fatah building using a tunnel with a ton of explosives. They’ve been smuggling arms for years now and obviously they have what it takes to win a war. The question, then, is what will they do now that they don’t have Fatah in the way? Essentially, all the resources of the PA and of Gaza will now fall into their hands. Will they openly or secretly build a larger and better armed army?
Whatever they do, their hostility toward Israel remains strong and overt; they continue to negate not only Israel’s existence but also any historical Jewish connection to the area; they maintain a posture of continuing violence against Israel; and they continue to fire rockets daily – even as their civil war hit its zenith, they launched rockets and managed to hit an Israeli elementary school in Sderot (don’t worry too much if you didn’t read about that in the news, the Palestinians are suffering).
All in all, this development isn’t good for Israel, but just how bad we have yet to see. Then again, at least the enemy is out in the open and for the first time in a while, matters won’t be so vague as to confuse the question of who is the key party to whom Israel can speak.
By the way, this disproves the claims of all those who spoke about Israel coming to some sort of agreement with Mahmoud Abbas, the supposed “moderate.” All along I’ve been claiming that he is too weak to cut any sort of deal. Events have proven just that.