January 10, 2009

A Warning from Hamas

Hamas refuses to stop firing rockets at Israeli civilans and threatens to kill international peacekeepers.

Specifically, Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Maashal threatens to treat international peacekeepers as an "occupying entity," but we all know what that means when a Palestinian terrorist leader says it. This may just be bravado and posturing against the Egyptian cease-fire plan on Maashal's part, but those working on crafting a resolution to the war in Gaza would be irresponsible if they didn't take his warning into account.

Don't forget that United Nations personnel were car-bombed in Iraq and that American peacekeepers were truck-bombed in Lebanon. And almost as many Lebanese Army soldiers were killed in 2007 in the Nahr al Bared Palestinian refugee camp as the British lost in Iraq since 2003. Everyone is a potential target in the Middle East.

If a peacekeeping force goes into Gaza with more authority than UNIFIL has in South Lebanon, it could happen. I slightly doubt it, but I don't know, and I could be wrong. Gaza very well may be populated with more terrorists per square mile than any other place in the world. It is not a place where international forces should tread lightly.

I'd also like to point out, as an aside, that Israel isn't leveling even empty threats at international peacekeepers.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 10, 2009 5:35 PM
Comments

Has Hamas offered a cease fire that would include:
a) no foreign peacekeepers
b) ending all attacks against Israel inclusive of rocket attacks
c) a full end to all Israeli military operations in Gaza.
d) no change on the sanctions and Rafah crossing.

This would be a return to the December 20th status quo. If Hamas offers this, Israel should accept.

How extensively has Hamas' military capability been degraded? For example could the PA's police successfully reoccupy Gaza if they tried?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at January 10, 2009 10:51 PM

I think we should send Russian peacekeepers into Gaza. They did a very good job in South Ossetia. But they should be on the Israeli side of the border, because Russians get confused about borders a lot. And no more than about 5 divisions, because that's just too damn many Russians, even for Gaza.

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at January 10, 2009 10:57 PM

On the other hand, Israeli airstrikes are wounding journalists right now:

http://cpj.org/blog/2009/01/cpj-condemns-attack-on-gaza-media-building.php

I don't think we'd give Hamas a pass on this.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at January 11, 2009 12:27 PM

http://cpj.org/blog/2009/01/cpj-condemns-attack-on-gaza-media-building.php

Does the committee on journalists have any evidence that Israel is not making a good faith effort to avoid killing journalists?

Since I am not there on the ground, I don't know the answer to this question. I would like to see a substantive debate on this somewhere?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at January 11, 2009 1:00 PM

I don't think we'd give Hamas a pass on this.

Are you joking? Western journalists have been held hostage and forcibly converted to Islam at gunpoint on Hamas' watch. Did they not receive their free pass? I must have missed the trials. Got a link for me?

Glasnost, I don't really care if you want to be grossly unfair to Israel. Just don't try to pretend Hamas is something other than what it is, OK?

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at January 11, 2009 4:51 PM

BTW, Glasnost, that story you linked has no verifiable details. It is impossible for anyone to even investigate what happened based on the information provided. How hard did you look for something better before you resorted to throwing that one our way, I wonder?

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at January 11, 2009 4:56 PM

first of all i think anyone who threatens peacekeepers is nuts, but on the israeli side, even though they have not made threats they have bombed UN buildings, killing peacekeepers, after UN officials called israel and gave them the coordinates of their building thinking that would be the safe bet

Posted by: ian Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 6:56 AM
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