World View: Hamas Cracks Down on Political Enemies in Gaza

This morning's key headlines from

  • Israel, Hamas extend Gaza truce another 24 hours to negotiate deal
  • Hamas cracks down on political enemies in Gaza
  • The 'Sadat Gambit' in the 1973 Yom Kippur war
  • Kenya will block West African passengers from entering country

Israel, Hamas extend Gaza truce another 24 hours to negotiate deal

Just before midnight Monday, when the latest Hamas-Israel Gaza truce was due to expire, the two sides agreed to extend the truce another 24 hours to continue negotiating a draft deal being discussed in Cairo.

According to Debka, the provisions of the draft deal include these terms: 

  • Extend Palestinian fishing rights.
  • Discuss, in a month, building a deep sea port and airport in Gaza.
  • Israel will waive demilitarization of Gaza.
  • Israel will negotiate release of convicted Palestinian prisoners from jail.

However, any such deal will have to be approved by Israel's cabinet, which is very far from certain. Daily Mail (London) and Debka

Hamas cracks down on political enemies in Gaza

Reports have indicated that a major objective of both Egypt and Israel in a potential peace settlement of the Gaza war is that Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA or Fatah) would play a major role, either replacing Hamas as the governing authority in Gaza, or at least serving as guards at an open Rafah border crossing connecting Gaza to Egypt. However, these proposals are an existential threat to Hamas as a political and military organization, so there's never been any serious chance that they would accept either of them.

The Palestinian factions Hamas and PA/Fatah have been bitter enemies since Hamas defeated Fatah in a 2008 war that wrested complete control of Gaza from Fatah. Theoretically, Fatah and Hamas have reconciled and are part of a "unity government," but unity has always been a fantasy, and the Gaza war has split them further. 

Hamas has been cracking down on political opponents in Gaza for some time, especially Fatah. But now on Monday, Hamas has placed dozens of Fatah activists under house arrest and has shot several in the legs for not staying indoors. Hamas leaders claim that they had nothing to do with the actions and suggested that some Hamas activists had been acting on their own. This illustrates a major problem with the peace negotiations in Cairo -- Hamas does not have control of Gaza, or even its own activists, so it's not capable of making valid commitments. 

Separately, reports indicate Israel's security services uncovered a Hamas plot to violently overthrow the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, coupled with large-scale terrorist attacks on Israel. The report claims that the plot was orchestrated from Istanbul, with the knowledge of Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. AP and Debka

The 'Sadat Gambit' in the 1973 Yom Kippur war

According to a Sunday analysis by Kforce Government Solutions, Israel's prime minister is determined to avoid a repeat of a trap set by Egypt's president Anwar Sadat in the 1973 Yom Kippur war with Israel: 

Egyptian authorities indicated that today's negotiations would represent Egypt's final effort to mediate a lasting ceasefire. All parties appear interested in observing the ceasefire a day at a time, even in the absence of an omnibus agreement.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel will not compromise on the security requirement that the Gaza Strip must be demilitarized. He also said that Hamas will not be permitted to obtain a political victory from its military defeat. If Hamas resumes rocket attacks upon the expiration of the ceasefire, Netanyahu promised massive retaliation.

What Netanyahu refers to is the Sadat Gambit that motivated the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Egyptian President Sadat knew that Egyptian forces could not defeat Israel in a war. The military objective was to gain enough territory to provide Egypt with leverage in the peace talks. In other words, lose the war to win the peace. It worked. Egypt did not with the war, but eventually became the second largest recipient of US military aid, second only to Israel.

The Palestinians, according to Netanyahu, tried a scaled back version of the Sadat Gambit, but failed because they were unable to cause significant casualties in Israel. The Gambit works when the side using it achieves sufficient, real battlefield success to afford it leverage in peace talks. The Palestinians fell short of attaining leverage because their rockets performed so poorly and so many Palestinians died.

The Israelis understand that ploy and will deny it to Hamas. The key point is that Hamas is continuing to fold. It is now willing to settle for a partial lifting of the Israeli blockade and to defer discussion of a seaport in Gaza, as long as Israel allows funds to be transferred by the Palestinian Authority to Hamas to enable it to pay the bills.

Another way in which Hamas has sustained a setback is that the Palestinian Authority appears to be asserting more authority over the negotiations, mostly because of Hamas legendary inability to govern and because the Authority has money and Hamas is broke.

One or other of the Palestinian groups may be expected to launch rockets by Tuesday, as a show of defiance. Israel will respond asymmetrically. The fighting is not finished.

KGS NightWatch and Boca Raton News - Oct 9, 1973

Kenya will block West African passengers from entering country

In a new blow to the economy of West Africa, Kenya said on Monday it will block passengers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea from entering Kenya for fear that they might be carrying the Ebola virus. This is further isolating the region, threatening shortages of food and other supplies. The World Bank and the African Development Bank are planning to provide as much as $260 million in emergency aid. 

As we reported yesterday, fears have increased that the spread of Ebola is out of control after looters attacked an Ebola clinic in the densely crowded West Point district of Monrovia, the capital city. The looters stole blood-stained sheets and mattresses, putting into danger anyone who comes into contact with those items. 17 Ebola patients left the clinic after the attack. 

Reports yesterday indicated that authorities had found the 17 escaped Ebola patients and moved them to a central Monrovia hospital. However, later reports indicate that the escaped patients have not been found. Also, the Monrovia police have been unable to enter the clinic for fear of becoming infected. Once they've received shipments of protective equipment and suits, they'll be able to deploy to West Point. Zegabi (Kenya) and Bloomberg and Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Gaza, Hamas, Hussam Kawasme, Palestinian Authority, Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, Egypt, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Anwar Sadat, Sadat Gambit, Benjamin Netanyahu, Kenya, Ebola, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, World Bank, African Development Bank, Monrovia, West Point 

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