Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gilad, Bibi and Hamas

I am infinitely pleased to see that Gilad Shalit apparently on the way to freedom.  But pardon my cynicism for the timing of this release.  Bibi was reeling from Israel's isolation after Abbas went to the UN, and so was Hamas.  This was a way for both Bibi and Hamas to change the channel on Abbas' bid for Palestinian statehood in a diplomatic manner.  Bibi gets a win with the Israeli public because he was able to bring Shalit home as well as undermine Abbas and the PA (apparently releasing Barghouti? really?); Hamas gets a win with the Palestinian public because it flexes its role as a player and one who delivers tangibly for the Palestinians; Abbas and the PLO in turn look weak and unable to deliver concrete improvements or results.

While not quite the old Middle Eastern maxim of "the enemy of my enemy," to me this is a reminder about the speciousness that Israel and Hamas can not find some modicum of working relations.  Hamas was tacitly allowed by Israel to come into existence to undermine the PLO in the 1980s. Forgive this cynic but I don't especially trust Bibi or Hamas when it comes to their political calculations, and I find this case a clear example of Bibi and Hamas finding a bit of common cause.  

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