By Hesham Tillawi, PhD
The ultimate Israeli objective in Southern Palestine is to create a neutralized "Gazan" regime that is geographically and politically separate from the regime in the West Bank. It has always been part of Israel's strategy to split the Palestinian people into West Bankers and Gazans. Since the starting of the First Intifada in 1987 Israel looked for ways to split the cohesiveness of the Palestinian people. I doubt if at that time their intention was to create two geographically and politically separate groups of Palestinians, but it looks like Israel is about to harvest the fruits of many years of planting and replanting.
It was ironic that Israel and the United States would force the Palestinians with an ultimatum to hold elections at a time when the Palestinians did not even have a State, but yet ignored all the Arab States' state of democracy. The election I am talking about is the one giving Hamas a majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council, a product of the Oslo Agreement that Hamas opposed and yet to recognize. The United States and Israel ignored this fact at the time--why? Why didn't they ask Hamas to sign the Oslo Agreement if it wants to enter the election which was based on the Oslo Agreement?
Incidentally, I remember Western Media as well as Arab Media talking about the two million dollars that the US was sending FATAH, the party of Mahmuod Abbas to use for campaigning at the same time that Hamas was getting millions of dollars from states that were friendly with Israel and others which were not, such as Iran. This fact was ignored by the media. On the contrary even Western Media was talking about the positive aspects of Hamas social programs, meaning schools and hospitals while at the same time "exposing" the "corruption" of FATAH " fat cats". Why?
America and Israel were aware of Hamas' challenge to FATAH and did nothing to stop it. The Palestinians did not need to have an election at that time. If Israel and the US were so concerned about the Palestinian people they would have worked for the establishment of a Palestinian State and made sure that a friendly regime was in place. The ironic thing that the U.S. and Israel did was to "help" Hamas get into a power position and immediately they opposed it. They opposed a situation that they helped create. Why?
Hamas won the election on January 25, 2006, but in 2005 an Israeli General who warned that Hamas was arming the public to overthrow Fatah was reprimanded. Why would Hamas be allowed to arm itself and enter an election? Why?
On June 14 Hamas took over the control of Gaza after overthrowing Fatah leadership and security apparatus as Israel stood on the side line and watched as one of its main objectives was finally coming into reality, two separate Palestinian entities opposed to each other creating two regimes to mirror the two spectrums of the Arab regimes in the area. Israel could have stopped Hamas take over with one F-16 sortie or even an Apache, but chose not to. Why? With Hamas take over the Palestinians finally came around to exactly where Israel wanted them to be. Geographically, politically, socially, and otherwise different from their brethren in to the north.
Today, we see Western Media, Arab Media, Palestinian Media, World governments and their people including Arab Governments and their people calling it nothing but "Gaza" and the Palestinians there as "Gazans". "FREE GAZA" we now say, not "free Palestine". That is exactly what Israel wants, for the world to start calling that Palestinian territory, Gaza. Palestine is in Ramallah, Gaza is in Gaza. There are Palestinians, and there are Gazans, just like there are Iraqis and Kuwaitis, Syrians and Lebanese, Egyptians and Sudanese, etc etc... It looks like
Israel did not "get" Hamas all the way here to destroy it, no, but it wants to disarm it. just as the U.S did with Saddam and his scuds, Israel want all Hamas heavy guns destroyed for now, until the time comes when Hamas is no longer needed just like Saddam. In my opinion it is not in Israel's favor to eliminate Hamas at this time, on the contrary, it is in its favor to allow Hamas to become a stronger political organization equally accepted in the Arab world as well as in the World just as another regime in the Middle East, like the Hashemites in Jordan, Ba'ath in Syria, Fatah in Ramallah. Its not Hamas rockets that Israel is after, but rather the wholesale liquidation of the Palestinian problem.
Does it have to happen like that? Of course not but it seems that all parties involved ,with no exceptions, find themselves in a position without any other alternatives but to continue with this separation. The ball is in the people's court now. Maybe that is why Israel is targeting the people.