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Posts tagged ‘Hamas’

Israel’s alleged impersonation of Gaza aid workers raises concern

Since the exposure of Israeli undercover forces by Hamas fighters in the occupied Gaza Strip on November 11, an incident that triggered the most intense round of escalation since 2014, a number of reports have emerged about the circumstances surrounding Israel’s thwarted raid.

On November 22, Hamas published photos of individuals it said were involved, images that Israel’s military censor immediately subjected to a publication ban. Read more

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Analysis: What does Gaza escalation mean for appetite for calm?

As recently as Sunday morning, all signs pointed to a longer-term truce taking hold between Israel and Palestinian factions in the besieged Gaza Strip.

But only a four hours later, that prospect seemed far more distant.

On Sunday evening, the Israeli army launched a secret operation in the coastal enclave that killed seven Palestinians, including a senior commander of the armed wing of Hamas, the group administering the Strip, as well as one of its soldiers. Read more

Can Hamas walk the fine line between deterrence and escalation?

More than a month has passed since the last significant exchange of fire between the Israeli military and Palestinian factions in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Thus, despite a number of significant and deadly flare-ups, the summer passed without a new large-scale Israeli assault on the blockaded territory materialising.

While Israeli military strategy has long relied on deterrence – the idea that short, sharp shocks to enemy forces and civilian population will secure periods of “quiet” – events this summer beg the question whether Hamas and other factions in Gaza have established their own deterrence. Read more

Gaza: Will the next war be the last?

In a recent, controversial interview with Al-Quds newspaper, Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed that the next war on the Gaza Strip would be the last. Was this just bluster, or does it represent a shift in Israeli strategy towards Gaza and Hamas?

Analysts are divided. “No one has a clear-cut answer about this,” Adnan Abu-Amer, political commentator and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Gaza’s Al-Ummah University, told Al Jazeera. But if there is a war, he continued, “it will be fiercer than ever, and Israel won’t let it last 51 days”. Read more

Why is Israel tightening the Gaza blockade?

Let us begin with the facts: Israeli authorities have, over the course of the last year, tightened the long-standing blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Even before these more recent restrictions, the Israeli blockade – an illegal policy of collective punishment in the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – was continuing to severely harm the lives of Gaza’s two million residents, furthering the enclave’s de-development. Read more

Is Israel gearing up for another offensive in Gaza?

More than two years have passed since the conclusion of ‘Operation Protective Edge’, Israel’s most recent, and most devastating, offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Superficially, things remain calm – but disturbing developments in recent months suggest that the Israeli government may be preparing for a renewed – and even more brutal – attack on the enclave.

There are three clearly identifiable trends in terms of a shift in Israeli policy towards Gaza. Read more

Palestinian vote suspended amid deep divisions

Exactly one month before the long-awaited local elections were set to take place across the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian high court in Ramallah suspended the vote – and it is now unclear whether polling will go ahead at all.

The October 8 vote was meant to elect local councils in more than 400 cities and towns across the occupied Palestinian territories. Thursday’s ruling does not definitively cancel the polls, with the court announcing a further hearing for September 21. Read more

Increased Israeli attacks on civilians in Gaza endanger two-year-old ceasefire

Israeli forces markedly increased their attacks on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during the second quarter of 2016, United Nations (UN) data has revealed, with concerns that such violence endangers the viability of the ceasefire that ended ‘Operation Protective Edge’ in 2014.

During the period April-June, there were an average of more than 90 shooting incidents per month by Israeli forces in Gaza’s so-called access restricted areas (ARA) – some 60 on land, and 30 at sea. This is more than double the equivalent average figures for the last six months of 2015. Read more

Israel under scrutiny, as secret trial of international NGO official begins

A senior Gaza-based employee of US-headquartered charity World Vision appeared in an Israeli court on Tuesday, charged with numerous counts of ‘supporting terrorism’.

According to the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet), Mohammad al-Halabi infiltrated the charity on behalf of Hamas, redirecting tens of millions of dollars to Al-Qassam Brigades over many years.

But to the consternation of Halabi’s lawyer, family, and colleagues, as well as diplomats and human rights workers, the trial – which reconvenes in October – is being conducted entirely in secret. Read more

Israeli escalation in Gaza seeks to ‘change equation’ – but at what cost?

Late on Sunday night, the Israeli Air Force launched dozens of airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip – as many as 50, according to an official source – after a single rocket had struck Sderot earlier in the day, causing no damage or injuries.

The airstrikes, which primarily struck sites used by Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), constituted, in the words of one analyst, a “deliberate escalation” by Israeli authorities. Read more