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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hamas orchestrating fuel shortages to attack Egypt?

There have been many stories in the past couple of days about Hamas demands of Egypt to open the Rafah border and threats that Hamas will try to destroy it again as they did in January.

One interesting detail is mentioned in a report in Palestine Press (Arabic). The paper claims that armed Hamas militia are shutting down gas stations in Gaza today, in order to put Gazans in the mood to storm the wall (which some reports say are already mined.)

Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported today that Gaza fuel wholesalers had refused fuel deliveries for three days before the Nahal Oz murders, as a strange protest of the limited amount of fuel that they were getting.

If this is true, then the intelligence that other Arabic papers were reporting yesterday that Hamas is going to attack the Rafah border imminently might have actually been a misunderstanding : it is plausible that Hamas orchestrated Nahal Oz, knowing that Israel would react as it did by shutting down fuel shipments.

As Noah Pollak notes, "Hamas and its regional patrons continue to drive events, not the other way around." Israel (as well as Egypt and the other players) are all reacting to Hamas' actions, whether it is smuggling weapons or initiating terror attacks or threatening Egypt. Hamas has the luxury of setting the agenda, and it is getting to the point that it will be able to choose its own terms of when to fight Israel, unless Israel takes control.