The press* is gasping and grasping to report developments in Israel's defense assault on hyperfanatical Hamas which had long supplied a steady rain of rockets on Israeli territory. Hamas is a nationalist-Palestinian Islamic terrorist organization, with a world agenda, and a power base in the dense urban districts in Gaza. These districts and their neighborhoods have been "wired" by the Hamas Defense Force. How Hamas came to power in Gaza in the last 2 yrs (I should factcheck my time estimation); and then, as I mentioned, once solidly in power in Gaza, how Hamas institutionalized the dribble of rocket attacks into Israeli populations, a practice already indigenous to some Gazans, finally instituted that continuous dribble into a regular bombardment of Israelis, even civilians, of course: all these details constitute a book in themselves (of which there shall be dozens, we may be sure).
In the second info wave of the news cycle on this story, one got word from Jerusalem Post reporters Yaakov Katz and JPost.com staff (Jan3,2k9, Saturday nite Israel Defense Forces [IDF] "[were sweeping] into northern Gaza Strip." Meanwhile, the Cabinet (an often creaky coalition) "approved the call-up of tens of thousands of reservists, mostly from combat units, but also from the Home Front Command" -- just short, it seems to me, of a total mobilization of the society for war, just in case --
sources said that the goal was to conquer territory in northern Gaza, including rocket launch sites. Soldiers from the Armored Corps, Engineering Corps, and Paratroopers, Givati, Golani brigades were participating in the fighting, with at least four brigades' worth of troops inside the Gaza Strip. ¶ The sources said that a majority of the rockets fired into Beersheba [Israel] and Ashdod [Israel] were launched from the northern Gaza Strip.Tens of thousands of IDF combat reservists called up> by Jaakov Katz and JPost.com
One of the major aims of the operation was also to deliver a serious blow to the Hamas military wing, which the IDF estimated had not been severely weakened under the air campaign. ¶[But] The IDF would not enter Gaza City or the refugee camps .... "We must end the hostile actions against Israel... We will not abandon our citizens."
AP and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report
In the third wave of info, the Israeli cabinet seems to be noting that the close-off date for their overwhelming counter-assault will be the impending arrival of France's Nikolas Sarkozy, an emisssary for world leadership everywhere (but the USA) calling for an immediate ceasefire. Israel will not be able to withstand such a formal diplomatic encounter on the issue, and will agree to a ceasefire, however with conditions I would imagine.
In the West Bank territory of Palestine, under the Palestinian Authority, and the Presidency of Mahmoud Abbas, leading lite of the Fatah Party (descended from Yasser Arafat), another political process is going on. The Abbas forces had been negotiating for six-months for a permanent ceasefire. The Hamas attacks against Israel nevertheless continued. Then Israel withdrew from the West Bank talks, and launched the current counter-assault.
"The fragmentation has really frustrated the population," said Qais Abdul Karim, a Palestinian Legislative Council member who belongs to neither Fatah nor Hamas. "There is no unity in the national movement and no unity in the street. These attacks have increased the divisions. They should have done the opposite.At this very moment there seem to be two Arab entities in conflict, the West Bank (PA, Abbas, Fatah) vs. Gaza (Hamas).
That dynamic may explain, at least in part, why public reaction to the Gaza strikes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has been milder than many analysts predicted.
The rift between the two factions hit a critical point in June 2007, when Hamas ousted Fatah security forces from Gaza after bloody street battles. Since then, Hamas, which won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, has had sole control of Gaza. Fatah has continued to exercise power in the West Bank, where it has banned Hamas from political activity.Israel's attacks on Gaza deepen Palestinian rift by Griff Witte, Jan1,2k9.WaPo.
The fortunes of the two territories -- which together with East Jerusalem would make up a future Palestinian state -- have diverged sharply since the Hamas takeover of Gaza. While economic conditions for the 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank have improved as international development money poured in, Gaza's 1.5 million people have suffered under a strict Israeli embargo.
In Ramallah, seat of power for the Fatah-run administration and one of the wealthiest cities in the West Bank, businessmen sip lattes in European-style cafes and car dealerships showcase gleaming new Mercedes-Benzes. In Gaza City, the home base of Hamas, donkeys sometimes outnumber cars because of fuel shortages and residents fight over their daily allocation of bread.
Israeli restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in both territories -- which are separated by about 30 miles of Israeli land -- have deepened the sense of disconnection between Gaza and the West Bank.
Now, you will notice that I have reversed the empirical time-order on this sequence, but logically it brings to where we could draw a conclusion, as it were, from Gaza as an "independent" enclave south of Israel, but being Arabic culturally and linguistically, Gaza becomes Egypt's problem. A joint arrangement between the UN and the Organization of Arab States could designate Egypt to have ultimate control of Gaza as a trusteeship. Let Egypt dismantle Hamas.