Thursday, April 15, 2010

Did Hamas close the tunnels because of Egyptian threats?

Elder Brother of Ziyon yesterday pieced together two of my items, one about the rumors that an Israeli had been kidnapped in the Sinai and another one about reports that Hamas inexplicably had closed the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. He wrote "This makes sense if a kidnapping indeed took place and Egypt is trying to intercept. "

It looks like the two items were indeed related. The JPost wrote, "A senior Hamas government official said the cross-border tunnels were closed at the request of Egypt. "

Moreover, Maariv is reporting (quoted in PalPress) that Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman threatened Hamas explicitly, saying that "If it is determined that there has been the abduction of an Israeli citizen in the Sinai and that the victim had been smuggled into Gaza, [Hamas] will pay a high price."

The article went on to say (quoted in PalToday) that Hamas went along with this to send a message to Israel that any kidnapping on Egyptian soil was not at Hamas' initiative.

When Egypt has to act to defend its interests, it doesn't mess around. And Hamas knows that Egypt would not be deterred from any actions by worries of an Arab equivalent of Goldstone.

Meanwhile, Israel's Channel Two reported (via PalToday) that Hamas is actually stepping up its desire to kidnap an Israeli soldier, but it wants to do it in the West Bank, not Gaza, so as to avoid any direct consequences to Gaza.