TEL AVIV – Hamas may resume firing rockets into Israel and even risk all-out war in order to divert attention from the ongoing electricity crisis in Gaza, an Arab affairs analyst said on Tuesday.
On a conference call with media outlets including Breitbart Jerusalem, Avi Issacharoff said Hamas may begin the “gradual shooting of rockets towards the Israeli sides and slowly slowly we might find ourselves in another war.”
Issacharoff added that it was a “realistic” scenario that Hamas may opt for violence in order to distract from the power crisis and the deepening hostilities between the terror group and its political rivals, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.
“It doesn’t look good for Israel,” Issacharoff added.
The PA is refusing to pay excise taxes on the diesel fuel that gives the Gaza Strip its electricity, holding that Hamas should pay it since it collects taxes from Gaza’s residents. As a result, half a day goes by without power.
The tax suspensions are part of a series of punitive measures the PA is imposing on Hamas in an effort to regain control of Gaza. The PA will slash its Gaza budget by up to 30%, including healthcare.
According to Issacharoff, the PA’s budget for 2016 was $4.14 billion, of which the Gaza Strip’s share was $1.65 billion. However, most of that money ends up in Hamas’ coffers for terror purposes. As Issacharoff wrote:
Hamas has a well-oiled policy of screwing things up, then crying foul. It is astonishing to watch it funnel tens of millions of dollars each year to its military wing, its rocket makers and its tunnel diggers, in pursuit of its relentless goal of destroying Israel, while simultaneously pleading that it cannot pay for water or fuel.
Meanwhile, in an effort to clean up its image in the international sphere, Hamas is expected to release a new charter in the coming days.
It is not yet known whether the manifesto, which Hamas has termed a “political document,” will replace the group’s founding charter from 1988 that not only calls for the destruction of Israel but the elimination of Jews everywhere.
Hamas sources have said this version reflects Hamas “pragmatic vision.” The Islamist group understands that if it is to have any hope of garnering world sympathy, it needs to tone down its language.
According to Issacharoff, the new charter won’t mean much for Israel even with a new amendment that stipulates recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines. Such a declaration is by no means to be understood as Hamas relinquishing its dream of conquering all sovereign Israeli territory; instead, the 1967 borders are just a stepping stone towards that goal.
“The biggest headline [to come] from the new charter,” says Issacharoff, “is that Hamas will try to disconnect itself from the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Hamas has been engaged in efforts to distance itself from its parent organization the Muslim Brotherhood for some time – partly in an effort to restore relations with neighboring Egypt. Last year, Hamas removed all Brotherhood symbols from mosques and streets in the coastal enclave.
“This is a very symbolic act for the Egyptians, [they’re] trying to show the Egyptians, ‘Look we’re not part of the bad guys who are working against [Egyptian President] Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,'” Issacharoff said.