Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jordan: It wasn't Hamas that fired rockets into Israel

Along with the incident along the Israel-Lebanon border, the recent firing of Katyusha rockets at Aqaba and Eilat has received considerable attention the last few days.  Many - including Mr. Netanyahu - have jumped to the conclusion that Hamas was responsible.  But Zvi Barel reports in Haaretz that Jordanian intelligence is pinning that, not on Hamas (and the Jordanian government is no friend of Hamas) but instead on an Islamist group (perhaps an al-Qaeda affiliate) that actually opposes Hamas' control in Gaza.

I say that Netanyahu jumped to that conclusion.  Actually, as far as he was concerned (and, I imagine, many of Israel's supporters in the US), it was a foregone conclusion.  That's a pity, because the situation is much more complicated than Hamas = Gaza = al-Qaeda.  Hamas is a movement that combines Islamism with Palestinian nationalism.  Unlike al-Qaeda, it has never attacked Americans, nor is it likely to.  But Israelis and Americans ought to keep in mind that to the extent that they revile, blockade, and weaken Hamas, they not only tear at the fabric of Gaza's society, they also help clear the way for the rise there - and beyond - of other groups, enemies of Hamas, with agendas potentially much more dangerous to Israel - and certainly more dangerous to the US.

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