A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hamas Fires Qassams as Gaza Escalates

Following a string of Israeli air strikes inside Gaza which Israel said were aimed at breaking up terrorist plots, Hamas has begun firing Qassam rockets into Israel for the first time in over a year, escalating an already tense situation. There was also a recent clash on Israel's border with Egypt.

It is the first attack Hamas has taken credit for since April 2011, and while it was linked by Hamas to the Israeli attacks, Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff in Ha'aretz suggest that it is at least indirectly connected with events on the Egyptian border.

During the transition/elections/ongoing crisis in Egypt, Sinai has continued to be a vacuum of authority and Gaza and Israel have entered a period of escalation. The situation is explosive (even without the issues of Syria and Iran which exacerbate tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian arena).

Though the present escalation is linked more to the Sinai border than to events in Egypt proper, there is potential danger that, if a power struggle emerges between the Muslim Brotherhood and SCAF, that could have repercussions in the Gaza sphere. Hamas emerged from the Gaza Muslim Brotherhood, whose formative years were during the 1948-1967 Egyptian occupation of Gaza, so Hamas has closer links to the Egyptian MB than most Muslim Brotherhood national groups do. And SCAF has demonstrated itself to be a defender of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, though not as enthusiastic in that regard as the Mubarak-era regime was.

1 comment:

idit said...

Few corrections - The escalation started when the IDF targeted 2 snipers shooting israeli farmer and his tractor.
Targeted terrorists do not legitimise shooting rockets at civillian populatiuon, as you seem to suggest.
In fact, it's a war crime.
Just as police officers shooting criminals do not give the criminals any right to shoot other civilians.