Initial Effects of Hamas' Election - Moderate Political AnalysisSave this online in Del.icio.us. [?] Vote For this Post
Hamas gets elected and, guess what? They promise to release their fellow imprisoned terrorists. Israel, nonplussed, captures them before Hamas gets around to releasing their buddies.
Here's another excellent article by Middle East on Target analyst Elliot Chodoff on the situation.
Jericho’s Walls Come Down Again
by Elliot Chodoff
Yesterday’s IDF operation in Jericho finally brought the killers of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi into Israeli custody, if four years after the fact. As the siege of the prison dragged on through the day, misinformation ruled the media airwaves, fueled by Palestinian disinformation, condemnations and threats.
This was not the first IDF operation attempting to capture Achmed Saadat, who planned Zeevi’s assassination, along with four other accomplices as well as Fuad Shobaki, the mastermind of the Karine A arms smuggling scheme on the Karine A. All were surrounded in 2002 in Yasir Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah, and were transferred to Jericho prison in a compromise agreement that precluded an IDF assault to capture them. American and British monitors were added to the agreement, as Israel had had a long and unpleasant experience of Palestinian Authority arrests and revolving door releases.
As it was, the prisoners lived under conditions resembling house arrest in the Jericho headquarters of the Palestinian police, free to move around the building, use cell phones and receive unrestricted and unmonitored visitors.
Two recent events brought about the collapse of the agreement: the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections, and recurring threats against the US and British monitors. In the aftermath of its electoral victory, Hamas announced its intention to free the prisoners as an early example of abrogating agreements made between the PA and Israel. Not surprisingly, “moderate” PA chairman Abu Mazen expressed his support for the move, although he added that he would not vouch for the safety of the prisoners once released from prison.
Also following the Hamas victory, the safety of the monitors was threatened by the usual gang of terrorists, this time supported by the democratically elected leadership. It did not take long before the US and British governments began a letter writing campaign to Abu Mazen, warning that if proper steps were not taken, the monitors would be removed. Again, no surprise. Nothing was done.
The Arab condemnations of the operation focused, as expected, on the upcoming Israeli elections and the accusation of collaboration between Britain, the US and Israel. Both claims are nonsensical.
The timing of the operation was dictated by the developments on the ground, not by the March 28 Knesset election date. The inanity of the claim that it was all a stunt to boost Acting PM Ehud Olmert’s electoral standing is obvious not only because Olmert is already ahead in the polls, but because every party from Labor rightward would have done exactly the same thing, and every voter in the country knows it. If he had done nothing the inaction would have cost him dearly, because it would have obviously gone against the interests if not the will of the majority of the population.
The charges of collusion between the monitors’ nations and the IDF are equally unfounded. The IDF has been preparing to grab these terrorists since 2002, never trusting that the PA would keep them in prison for any length of time. Israeli intelligence services were aware of the concerns about the monitors’ safety, and it should come as no surprise that they were privy to the correspondence with Abu Mazen without being informed by the other countries. The forces used to capture the terrorists yesterday were mobilized for the operation last week, moved into position in staging areas nearby and alerted in anticipation of the monitors’ departure. This permitted them to move quickly once the prison was left to the exclusive responsibility of the PA forces.
This operation was certainly the first of many that we will witness in the weeks ahead, as Hamas gains power over the PA and its armed groups, and begins to carry out its policy of violent conflict with Israel. Jericho, the first city to fall to Joshua, is likely to be the harbinger of things to come in this war as well.
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