Palestinian protests in solidarity with Gaza have spread. Hamas flags outnumbered those of Fatah at a recent protest in Nablus. The Ramallah leadership, not altogether convincingly, has adopted some of Hamas’s rhetoric, using the word ‘resistance’ and praising Hamas’s fight. Clashes have taken place in the West Bank and East Jerusalem nearly every night. On 24 July, during the Muslim holy night of Laylat al-Qadr, the Qalandiya checkpoint in northern Jerusalem was the site of the largest demonstration on the West Bank since the Second Intifada. Hamas knows it can’t defeat the Israeli military, but the Gaza war holds out the possibility of a distant but no less important prize: stirring up the West Bank, and undermining the Ramallah leadership and the programme of perpetual negotiation, accommodation and US dependency that it stands for.
For many Palestinians, Hamas has once again proved the comparative effectiveness of militancy. Tunnels, which have been central to its successes in the current fighting, have been the source of attacks against Israelis in Gaza since well before Israel’s 2005 withdrawal. Hamas points to a series of tunnel-based attacks, including a deadly December 2004 explosion underneath an Israeli army post in southern Gaza, that helped precipitate Israel’s pullout. Since the fighting in Gaza began this summer, Israel has not announced a single new settlement and has expressed willingness to make certain concessions to Palestinian demands – achievements the Ramallah leadership has not been able to match in years of negotiations. The outcome of the fight will help determine the future path of the Palestinian national movement.
The real barrier to a West Bank uprising has not been, as Hamas has claimed, Abbas’s collaboration with Israel. It has been social and political fragmentation, and the widespread Palestinian acquiescence that national liberation should come second to the largely apolitical and technocratic projects of state-building and economic development. These are far greater obstacles for Hamas. To the extent that the recent fighting has instilled pride in Palestinians who say they’d grown accustomed to feeling shame at the way their leaders grovel at American and Israeli feet, Hamas’s achievement has not been small.
But Hamas has also risked a great deal. It stands to lose everything if Israel reassesses its long-standing reliance on it as Gaza’s policeman, a strategy that has led it to keep Hamas strong enough in Gaza to exercise a near monopoly on the use of force. An irony of the recent weeks of ground combat is that Hamas’s strong showing has put its position in Gaza at risk. Israel may decide it has become too big a threat. Hamas has slowed the Israeli ground incursion and inflicted dozens of losses on Israeli troops, far more than most expected. Two weeks after the ground incursion began, the IDF hadn’t made it past the first line of densely populated urban housing. Thanks to the vast underground tunnel network leading not just into Israel but under Gaza, if Israel decides to enter the city centres, its casualties seem certain to increase. During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09, Israel went far deeper into Gaza and lost only ten soldiers, four of them to friendly fire; today Israeli ground forces have lost more than sixty soldiers. Losses among Hamas militants so far appear to be manageable. For the first time in decades, Israel is defending itself against an army that has penetrated the 1967 borders, by means of tunnels and naval incursions. Hamas rockets produced in Gaza can now reach all of Israel’s largest cities, including Haifa, and it has rocket-equipped drones. It was able to shut down Israel’s main airport for two days. Israelis who live near Gaza have left their homes and are scared to go back since the IDF says that there are probably still tunnels it doesn’t know about. Rockets from Gaza kept Israelis returning to shelters day after day, demonstrating the IDF’s inability to deal with the threat. The war is estimated to have cost the country billions of dollars.
Since 2000, when the second intifada broke out, Israel has had some form of military operation lasting a few weeks every few years: Defensive Shield (in the West Bank) in 2002; the Second Lebanon War in 2006; Cast Lead in 2008-09; and Pillar of Defense in 2012. In almost every case, new military technology or weapons were used – which had a positive effect on overseas sales.
The numbers show that, after the initial period of criticism against Israel after the various operations quiet down, sales pick up. And there has been continuous growth in defense exports in recent years. In 2002, such exports were worth $2 billion, grew to $3.4 billion in 2006, and were $6 billion in 2012. In 2013, the three largest defense contractors all showed increases in sales: Elbit had annual revenues of $3 billion; IAI $2.65 billion; and Rafael $2 billion. At 15%, Rafael’s sales showed the highest growth rate.
The local defense industries provide jobs – directly and indirectly – for some 150,000 people in Israel. About 1,000 firms are registered with the Defense Ministry as arms suppliers, and 680 have export licenses. Some 320 marketers around the world are registered with the ministry, people who are located overseas and sell the wares supplied by Israeli defense firms.
The ministry refuses to reveal the overall figures on Israeli arms exports, but some of the data was revealed last year after a human-rights activist filed a suit here. It transpired that $3.83 billion-worth of deals were signed in 2012 with Asian countries; $1.73 billion with European nations; $1.1 billion with Canada and the United States; $604 million with Latin America; and $107 million in Africa.
Israel admitted to sales with only five countries – the United States, Spain, Britain, South Korea and Kenya – but Haaretz has found there were deals with at least 33 more countries, including many in the Third World.
The attempt by Israelis-Americans mainly to focus only on Hamas’ options, tactics and aims is a mistaken diminution of the entire Palestinian national struggle for self-determination, rights and statehood. They do this probably because it is easier for American-Israeli propagandists to highlight Hamas’ militancy rather than to grapple with the fact that all Palestinians — and most of the world, actually — support the demands that Hamas has articulated and that have been negotiated by the all-inclusive Palestinian delegation in Cairo. So the next time you hear or read an Israeli-American journalist or politician talk about the position or demands of “Hamas,” simply substitute for “Hamas” the term “the Palestinian people” and you will get a more accurate reading of the situation.
Hamas receives disproportionate attention because it and its militant colleagues are the last Palestinians standing who use armed resistance to fight back against Zionist colonization, siege, assassination and savage attacks. Hamas’ militancy sets it apart from Mahmoud Abbas’ Fateh and others who have acquiesced to Israeli demands, but Hamas’ political demands are shared widely by all Palestinians. Those demands, especially lifting the siege of Gaza, releasing prisoners and ending the Israeli occupation and Palestinian refugeehood, are the core issues that must be resolved for the Palestinians to coexist with an Israeli state. This is where the focus must remain, not only on whether Hamas does this today or that next week.
Palestinian sources at the talks in Cairo said that Egyptian officials categorically rejected the words “lifting the siege” in the proposed truce deal. The same sources said Egypt refused to pass to the Israeli delegation the Palestinian demand for the opening of the port of Gaza.
On Friday morning, the Hamas delegation asked Egyptian officials for an Israeli agreement in principle to end the border closure and allow the rebuilding of Gaza in exchange for extending the truce. Egyptian officials reported that Israel refused. On the other side it was reported that Israel offered to ease the siege, which Hamas rejected.
From the very start, Israel and Egypt tied the ending of the siege to the demilitarisation of Hamas and all the armed factions in Gaza. This was akin to asking fighters who had, in their eyes, successfully resisted an overwhelmingly superior military force for the last month, to hold up their hands, surrender their arms and give up.
The original Egyptian ceasefire initiative was framed for rejection, and not even presented to Hamas before it was released. They have not moved from that since. Abu Ubaydeh, the spokesman for Hamas’ military wing the The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades was even clearer on Thursday evening: “If our demands are not met, including the creation of a seaport, negotiators must withdraw from the negotiations and end this game,”
What is clear just from this readout is that Egyptian and Israeli officials are working hand in glove. That was always the accusation of America’s role in the peace process, but Egypt’s tryst with Israel is even clearer and cruder in the talks in Cairo.
From day one, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi surprised Israeli officials with the strength of his anti-Hamas fervour. As the Wall Street Journal usefully reports, when Sisi closed nearly all the tunnels and did nothing to compensate for the passage of supplies above ground, some Israeli officials began to raise the alarm bells about the harshness of Cairo’s actions.
“They were actually suffocating Gaza too much,” the WSJ quoted one Israeli official as saying. If nothing else, Israel has learned in the last eight years how to adjust the noose it had placed around Gaza’s neck, and here was a new convert to the cause tightening it too much and too quickly.
Are the Isis jihadis behaving any differently than the Hagana and the Irgun? You are – rightfully – horrified at the so-called Islamic state in Iraq yet you argue that a Jewish state has ‘the right to exist.’ Do you not know how Israel was founded?
Why, you might ask, is it important to have Western celebrities support Gaza? Or to, at least, be glad whenever they tweet even two lines about Palestine? It is because when those people who are paraded as heroes and preferable role models, those who are at the summit of the American dream, those whom every White kid dreams of emulating –– when those people support Palestine, it makes a difference in the minds of the Western audience. It creates dissonance. At least, it makes them think or rethink. You see, non-Whites can go to the moon and back for Palestine, but they can always be dismissed, even by petty and uneducated Whites, simply because they are non-Whites. But when a White celebrity––someone whom we are constantly bombarded to be like––also says what Arabs and Muslims say, it actually has the potential to make an impact. Maybe even a big impact given the television and celebrity culture of America. This is also the very definition of White privilege: when your opinion counts more simply because you are White.
In short, Sisi and Netanyahu share a keen interest to weaken and humiliate Hamas. And yet, the US encouraged them to negotiate a ceasefire over Hamas’ head. Since then, Washington has rebuffed an alternative proposal from Qatar and Turkey, who are more sympathetic to Hamas.
It was a foregone conclusion that Hamas would reject the Egyptian offer. It failed to address key concerns, not least that the suffocating siege be ended and that Israel honour earlier agreements, particularly on prisoners.
The ceasefire proposal was nothing more than a trap – one whose purpose was to elicit a Hamas rejection and thereby provide Israel with a pretext to launch its ground invasion.
Netanyahu, backed by the US, is using the current attack to terrorise Gaza’s civilian population, deplete Hamas’ rocket stockpile, and then force it to accept terms of surrender.
Despite its public pronouncements, Washington was also secretly conspiring with Israel on a huge expansion of settlement projects. These were announced – to loud condemnation by Kerry – each time a batch of Palestinian prisoners was released, a condition Abbas had set for his participation.
But US opposition was feigned, writes Drucker. In reality, Washington was “informed of the [settlement] tenders in advance”.
It is no surprise that Netanyahu has been acting in bad faith, and that his military campaigns in the West Bank and Gaza are designed to disrupt the recent reconciliation between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah.
As Israeli analyst Noam Sheizaf points out, Netanyahu is opposed to a peace deal of any kind. For him, “Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas are pretty much the same. Any gain by either one of them is a loss to Israel.”
But of far greater concern should be the Obama administration’s decision to back Israel to the hilt and the US media’s silence on the matter. There can be no hope of a peaceful solution ever gaining traction – or these bouts of blood-letting in Gaza coming to end – unless Washington is finally unmasked as Israel’s abettor-in-chief.
Israel has also offered its help in battling insurgencies in India, particularly with the Maoists — with, in particular, ‘intelligent’, semiautonomous drones. Sources told us that India has sent positive word (though not on-paper MOUs yet) for another lot of 100 drones over the next two or three years.
Not that Israeli drones in India are unprecedented. Israel has steadily been supplying drones to India, but nowhere close to these numbers. In December 2013, the Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by the then prime minister, Manmohan Singh, had approved about $300 million for 15 Heron (Machatz-1) drones from Israel. They were meant to build up to 40-plus Herons, each costing $10 million, with the rest for human-guidance systems and upgrades.
Modi has been working harder to improve his ties with Israel than at getting the Barack Obama administration to lift its ban on him. As erstwhile chief minister of Gujarat, Modi had developed a keenly friendly relationship with Israel, promoting Israel’s involvement with grassroots ventures from drip irrigation in agriculture to water recycling. Indeed, while Modi was building his bridges with Israel, the Congress government at the Centre set about quietly and increasingly involving, over the years, Mossad’s expertise at surveillance at the Republic Day Parade — which is, more than just a national-pride jamboree, India’s biggest defence exhibition.
Forty days before Narendra Modi took office, the incumbent foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, had announced that Israel was a “reliable partner”, and that the Congress government quietly acknowledged it. On a three-day visit to Israel starting 3 April as chair of the Indo-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group, Swaraj had said that the Congress government had not broken “the continuity in the foreign policy” vis-à-vis Israel and that there was “a lot of warmth in the relationship between the two countries…”
Hamas tells the Palestinians the simple truth: freedom comes at the cost of blood. The tragedy is that we usually provide the evidence. After all, the evacuation of settlements in Gaza came after the Second Intifada, not as a result of negotiations. The Oslo Accords came after the First Intifada; before that, Israel turned down even the convenient London Agreement between Shimon Peres and Jordan’s King Hussein.
Israelis are convinced they are fighting a terror organization driven by a fundamentalist Islamic ideology. Palestinians are convinced Israelis are looking to enslave them, and that as soon as the war is over the siege will be reinforced. Since this is exactly what Israel intends to do, as our government has repeatedly stated, they have no reason to stop fighting.
Hamas may accept a ceasefire soon. Its regime might collapse. Either way, it is only a matter of time before the next round of violence. Human lives are not cheaper for Palestinians than they are for us. But nations fighting for their freedom will endure the worst sacrifices. Like in Shujaiyeh.
Indeed, US intelligence officials confirmed that from the late 1970s to the 80s, Israel had “directly and indirectly” financed Hamas as a counterweight to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) “to divide and dilute support” for the secular movement for self-determination. But there was another agenda. “The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the others, if they gained control, would refuse to have any part of the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place,” said one US government official. “Israel would still be the only democracy in the region for the United States to deal with.”
In 2001, Times of Israel columnist Ellis Shuman reported for the Israel Insiderthat former Knesset parliamentarian Michael Kleiner, leader of the far right Herut party who has just been elected president of the Supreme Court of Netanyahu’s Likud, “suggested replacing Arafat, even if it meant the Hamas would take his place. According to Kleiner, the entire world recognises the Hamas as a terrorist organisation so Israel’s continued efforts against a radical Palestinian leadership would not be condemned.”
That year, according to Ha’aretz, Silvan Shalom — then Israeli finance minister and current minister of energy and water — told the cabinet that: “Between Hamas and Arafat, I prefer Hamas.” None of the ministers protested, notedHa’aretz. Shalom went on to describe Arafat as “a terrorist in a diplomat’s suit, while the Hamas can be hit unmercifully. Everyone will understand who we’re dealing with, he implied, and there won’t be any international protests.”
As former Times editor George Szamuely observed in New York Pressmagazine in 2002, Israel’s support for Hamas “even continued after the 1993 Oslo accords,” as suicide bombings inside Israel continued. Hamas, he remarked, “served Israel’s purpose admirably by suggesting to the American public that the conflict in the Middle East pitted democratic Israel against all-or-nothing fanatics who wanted to drive the Jews into the sea. Israel’s refusal to surrender conquered land and its continued building of settlements in violation of innumerable UN resolutions could then all be justified as perfectly reasonable responses to an implacable enemy.”
It’s often claimed that Israel’s reason for escalating this punitive regime to a new level of severity was to cause the overthrow of Hamas after its 2007 seizure of power in Gaza. The claim doesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny. Removing Hamas from power has indeed been a policy objective for the US and the EU ever since the Islamist movement won the 2006 parliamentary elections, and their combined efforts to undermine it helped set the stage for the ensuing Palestinian schism.
Israel’s agenda has been different. Had it been determined to end Hamas rule it could easily have done so, particularly while Hamas was still consolidating its control over Gaza in 2007, and without necessarily reversing the 2005 disengagement. Instead, it saw the schism between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority as an opportunity to further its policies of separation and fragmentation, and to deflect growing international pressure for an end to an occupation that has lasted nearly half a century. Its massive assaults on the Gaza Strip in 2008-9 (Operation Cast Lead) and 2012 (Operation Pillar of Defence), as well as countless individual attacks between and since, were in this context exercises in what the Israeli military called ‘mowing the lawn’: weakening Hamas and enhancing Israel’s powers of deterrence. As the 2009 Goldstone Report and other investigations have demonstrated, often in excruciating detail, the grass consists overwhelmingly of non-combatant Palestinian civilians, indiscriminately targeted by Israel’s precision weaponry.
Israel’s current assault on the Gaza Strip, which began on 6 July with ground forces moving in some ten days later, is intended to serve the same agenda. The conditions for it were set in late April. Negotiations that had been going on for nine months stalled after the Israeli government reneged on its commitment to release a number of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated since before the 1993 Oslo Accords, and ended when Netanyahu announced he would no longer deal with Mahmoud Abbas because Abbas had just signed a further reconciliation agreement with Hamas. On this occasion, in a sharp departure from precedent, US Secretary of State John Kerry explicitly blamed Israel for the breakdown in talks. His special envoy, Martin Indyk, a career Israel lobbyist, blamed Israel’s insatiable appetite for Palestinian land and continued expansion of the settlements, and handed in his resignation.
The challenge this poses to Netanyahu is clear. If even the Americans are telling the world that Israel is not interested in peace, those more directly invested in a two-state settlement – such as the EU, which has started to exclude any Israeli entities active in occupied Palestinian territory from participation in bilateral agreements – may start considering other ways to nudge Israel towards the 1967 boundaries. Negotiations about nothing are designed to provide political cover for Israel’s policy of creeping annexation. Now that they’ve collapsed yet again, the strategic asset that is American public opinion may start asking why Congress is more loyal to Netanyahu than the Israeli Knesset is. Kerry had been serious about reaching a comprehensive agreement: he adopted almost all of Israel’s core positions and successfully rammed most of them down Abbas’s throat – yet Netanyahu still balked. Refusing even to specify future Israeli-Palestinian borders during nine months of negotiations, Israeli leaders instead levelled a series of accusations at Washington so outlandish – encouraging extremism, giving succour to terrorists – that one could be forgiven for concluding Congress was funding Hamas, rather than Israel, to the tune of $3 billion a year.
Israel received another blow on 2 June, when a new Palestinian Authority government was inaugurated, following the April reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas endorsed the new government even though it was given no cabinet posts and the government’s composition and political programme were virtually indistinguishable from its predecessor’s. With barely a protest from the Islamists, Abbas repeatedly and loudly proclaimed that the government accepted the Middle East Quartet’s demands: that it recognise Israel, renounce violence and adhere to past agreements. He also announced that Palestinian security forces in the West Bank would continue their security collaboration with Israel. When both Washington and Brussels signalled their intention to co-operate with the new government, alarm bells went off in Israel. Its usual assertions that Palestinian negotiators spoke only for themselves – and would therefore prove incapable of implementing any agreement – had begun to look shaky: the Palestinian leadership could now claim not only to represent both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also to have co-opted Hamas into supporting a negotiated two-state settlement, if not the Oslo framework as a whole. There might soon be increased international pressure on Israel to negotiate seriously with Abbas. The formaldehyde was beginning to evaporate.
At this point Netanyahu seized on the 12 June disappearance of three young Israelis in the West Bank like a drowning man thrown a lifebelt. Despite clear evidence presented to him by the Israeli security forces that the three teenagers were already dead, and no evidence to date that Hamas was involved, he held Hamas directly responsible and launched a ‘hostage rescue operation’ throughout the West Bank. It was really an organised military rampage. It included the killing of at least six Palestinians, none of whom was accused of involvement in the disappearances; mass arrests, including the arrest of Hamas parliamentarians and the re-arrest of detainees released in 2011; the demolition of a number of houses and the looting of others; and a variety of other depredations of the kind Israel’s finest have honed to perfection during decades of occupation. Netanyahu whipped up a demagogic firestorm against the Palestinians, and the subsequent abduction and burning alive of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem cannot and should not be separated from this incitement.
For his part, Abbas failed to stand up to the Israeli operation and ordered his security forces to continue to co-operate with Israel against Hamas. The reconciliation agreement was being put under serious pressure. On the night of 6 July, an Israeli air raid resulted in the death of seven Hamas militants. Hamas responded with sustained missile attacks deep into Israel, escalating further as Israel launched its full-scale onslaught. For the past year Hamas had been in a precarious position: it had lost its headquarters in Damascus and preferential status in Iran as a result of its refusal to give open support to the Syrian regime, and faced unprecedented levels of hostility from Egypt’s new military ruler. The underground tunnel economy between Egypt and Gaza had been systematically dismantled by the Egyptians, and for the first time since seizing control of the territory in 2007 it was no longer able regularly to pay the salaries of tens of thousands of government employees. The reconciliation agreement with Fatah was its way of bartering its political programme in exchange for its own survival: in return for conceding the political arena to Abbas, Hamas would retain control of the Gaza Strip indefinitely, have its public sector placed on the PA payroll and see the border crossing with Egypt reopened.
In the event, the quid pro quo Hamas hoped for was not permitted to materialise and, according to Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group, ‘life in Gaza became worse’: ‘The current escalation,’ he wrote, ‘is a direct result of the choice by Israel and the West to obstruct the implementation of the April 2014 Palestinian reconciliation agreement.’ To put it differently, those within Hamas who saw the crisis as an opportunity to put an end toWeissglass’s regime gained the upper hand. So far, they appear to have the majority of the population with them, because they seem to prefer death by F-16 to death by formaldehyde.
Read the list of demands and judge honestly whether there is one unjust demand among them: withdrawal of Israel Defense Forces troops and allowing farmers to work their land up to the fence; release of all prisoners from the Gilad Shalit swap who have been rearrested; an end to the siege and opening of the crossings; opening of a port and airport under UN management; expansion of the fishing zone; international supervision of the Rafah crossing; an Israeli pledge to a 10-year cease-fire and closure of Gaza’s air space to Israeli aircraft; permits to Gaza residents to visit Jerusalem and pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque; and an Israeli pledge not to interfere in internal Palestinian politics such as the unity government; opening Gaza’s industrial zone
Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said Israel carried out a “systematic and continued effort to change the ethnic composition of East Jerusalem”.
Falk, an 82-year-old American, said that in recent years Israel had made it more difficult for Palestinians to reside there while encouraging the building of new Jewish settlements, which are illegal under international law.
Falk, an emeritus law professor at Princeton University, said that more than 11,000 Palestinians had lost their right to live in Jerusalem since 1996.
"The 11,000 is just the tip of the iceberg because many more are faced with possible challenges to their residency rights," he said.
Falk, who is Jewish, described Israeli policies as bearing “unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing”.
"What is called occupation is now more widely understood to be a form of annexation, the embodiment of apartheid in the sense that there’s a discriminatory dual system of law, giving legal protection to the Israeli settlers and subjecting the Palestinian population under occupation to a continuing existence without rights," he said
The attack on Gaza comes by Saudi Royal Appointment. This royal warrant is nothing less than an open secret in Israel, and both former and serving defense officials are relaxed when they talk about it. Former Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz surprised the presenter on Channel 10 by saying Israel had to specify a role for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the demilitarization of Hamas. Asked what he meant by that, he added that Saudi and Emirati funds should be used to rebuild Gaza after Hamas had been defanged.
Amos Gilad, the Israeli defense establishment’s point man with Mubarak’s Egypt and now director of the Israeli defense ministry’s policy and political-military relations department told the academic James Dorsey recently : “Everything is underground, nothing is public. But our security cooperation with Egypt and the Gulf states is unique. This is the best period of security and diplomatic relations with the Arab.”
The celebration is mutual. King Abdullah let it be known that he had phoned President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to approve of an Egyptian ceasefire initiative which had not been put to Hamas, and had the Jerusalem Post quoting analysts about whether a ceasefire was ever seriously intended.
Mossad and Saudi intelligence officials meet regularly: The two sides conferred when the former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was about to be deposed in Egypt and they are hand in glove on Iran, both in preparing for an Israel strike over Saudi airspace and in sabotaging the existing nuclear program. There has even been a well sourced claim that the Saudis are financing most of Israel’s very expensive campaign against Iran.
Why do Saudi Arabia and Israel make such comfortable bedfellows? For decades each country has had a similar feeling in their gut when they look around them: fear. Their reaction was similar. Each felt they could only insure themselves against their neighbors by invading them (Lebanon, Yemen) or by funding proxy wars and coups (Syria, Egypt, Libya).They have enemies or rivals in common - Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Hamas in Gaza, and the Muslim Brotherhood. And they have common allies, too - the US and British military industrial establishments, Fatah strongman and US asset Mohammed Dahlan who tried to take over Gaza once, and will probably be at hand when next required.