Friday, November 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

AP Analysis: Hamas emerges weakened from Gaza war

By
From page A6 | August 07, 2014 |

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Hamas has entered Egyptian-brokered talks with Israel on a new border regime for blockaded Gaza from a point of military weakness: it lost hundreds of fighters, two-thirds of its 10,000 rockets and all of its attack tunnels, worth $100 million, Israel says.

The Gaza war has boosted the Islamic militant group’s popularity among Palestinians because it confronted Israel. But the mood can quickly turn if Hamas fails to deliver achievements for Gaza in the Cairo talks, most urgently the opening the territory’s borders.

If the Cairo talks fail, Hamas will have only limited options, since resuming rocket fire would probably bring more ruination on an already-devastated territory. In the past month of Israel-Hamas fighting — the third major round of such hostilities in five years — nearly 1,900 Palestinians have been killed, more than 9,000 wounded and thousands of homes destroyed.

The massive destruction in Gaza City’s neighborhood of Shijaiyah, close to the border with Israel, illustrated the extent of Hamas’ military setbacks and the fickle public mood it faces.

Entire city blocks have been laid to waste in Shijaiyah in one of the fiercest battles of the war that pitted hundreds of Hamas gunmen against Israeli troops after the start of the Israeli ground operation July 17.

At least five of more than 30 cross-border military tunnels destroyed by Israel during the war had originated in Shijaiyah, and Hamas fought hard to protect the strategic assets, said Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

Shijaiyah resident Abdel Karim al-Ajla, 55, sat outside his destroyed two-story home with friends and relatives Wednesday, the second day of a temporary cease-fire that helped launch the indirect Israel-Hamas talks on Gaza’s future.

“We paid a heavy price,” said the English teacher. At the least, he said, “we hope now to open the borders.”

However, Hamas can only meet such expectations by Gaza’s people if it agrees to hand over some power to its long-time rival, Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas had seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007, prompting Israel and Egypt to impose tight border restrictions. In any new deal negotiated in Cairo, Israel and Egypt would only agree to open the borders if forces loyal to Abbas take up positions at the Gaza crossings.

For years, Hamas had managed to survive the closure with the help of smuggling tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border. The tunnels were tolerated by Egypt as a way of easing the plight of Gazans without formally opening the frontier.

But with the ouster of a Hamas-friendly government in Cairo last year, Hamas’ prospects worsened dramatically. The Egyptian military, considering Hamas a security threat, destroyed the tunnels and deprived Hamas of key revenues from tunnel taxation.

The ensuing financial crisis drove Hamas to a lopsided power-sharing agreement with Abbas in April. Abbas took charge of a unity government of technocrats in both the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas stayed in the background, but won one major concession: continued control over its security forces in Gaza.

In the Cairo talks, Hamas could only win a seat at the table by agreeing to join a Palestinian delegation led by an Abbas confidant, a reflection of Egypt’s tough stance toward the group.

The delegation has so far presented joint demands — a lifting of the closure and an international pledging conference for Gaza reconstruction — but Egypt has made it clear it considers the Abbas camp to be the legitimate voice of the Palestinians.

Israel’s top demand in the Cairo talks is that Hamas be disarmed or at least be prevented from re-arming.

Israel has said it is willing, in principle, to ease Gaza border restrictions — but only with safeguards that prevent weapons or goods with possible military uses, such as cement for building tunnels and bunkers, from reaching Hamas.

Hamas has said it will not surrender its weapons under any circumstances. It has signaled some flexibility in letting Abbas take a lead on Gaza reconstruction but has also said it wants to retain a say.

Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki said the Gaza war appears to have boosted Hamas’ popularity, but that this might be short-lived if Hamas is seen as impeding reconstruction. If Abbas leads the process effectively, he will get a lot of credit, Shikaki said. “Obviously, if Abbas makes unreasonable demands, such as disarming Hamas, then the public will side with Hamas,” he said.

Ahmed Yousef, a Gaza intellectual and former Hamas government official, said he believes the movement is eager to unload the burden of government after its financial difficulties of recent months. “I see Hamas going back to the street, working with people,” he said, suggesting the group might run for parliament in the future, but not try to return to government.

“Hamas has restored its popularity and will build on that,” he said.

Any attempt by Hamas to rebuild its military capacity is being disrupted by the Egyptian tunnel closures. In the past, the tunnels funneled not just consumer goods, but also weapons from Iran and Syria and raw materials for a local arms industry.

Lerner, the Israeli military spokesman, said the Hamas rocket arsenal, estimated at 10,000, has been reduced by two-thirds. Hamas fired more than 3,300 rockets at Israel since July 8 and another 3,000 rockets were destroyed on the ground in Gaza by Israeli strikes, along with more than 1,000 launchers, he said.

Israel has also destroyed 32 tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border intended for staging attacks. Of those, 14 had already reached Israel, he said. With each concrete-lined tunnel costing about $3 million to dig, Hamas lost a strategic investment of about $100 million, he said. The tunnels were on average 2.5 to 3 kilometers (1.5 to 1.8 miles) long and took two to three years to build.

Lerner said Hamas’ ability to manufacture rockets locally has also been hurt, with airstrikes destroying 191 sites linked to manufacturing.

However, the military option remains open if Hamas feels cornered.

The spokesman of the Hamas military wing, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Obeida, said Wednesday the group still has plenty of reserves. “What we have shown in the war (in terms of weapons) is very little, and we will have a lot in our inventory,” he said in a text message in response to a question also sent by text.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Fairfield on film celebration set Saturday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Solano high school students bring robotics to Shanghai, China

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Hanukkah Festival added to Holiday in the Park

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

 
Holidays present seasonal entertainment

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Memories of Thanksgiving Days gone by

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Man shot at Suisun City apartment

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 7 Comments

 
 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Nov. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Emotions rise as people hear immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Obama spurns GOP with expansive immigration orders

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 25 Comments

Congress can’t ‘de-fund’ Obama on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
A look at the numbers in Obama’s immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

California sheriff criticizes Obama on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 3 Comments

 
Deal divides billions in closed nuke plant’s costs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California tuition hike fight shifts to Sacramento

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
PG&E fined over alleged secret dealings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Feinstein: Drought relief bill out for this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
GOP’s success in House races ends in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Insurance sign-ups outpacing first year enrollment

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Man who killed co-worker, cut out heart released

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

St. Louis region prepares for Ferguson decision

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Union: Ferguson officer does not expect charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

NOAA: Globe sets 5th hottest-month record of 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Roofs collapse as New York clobbered by more snow

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Hearing draws apology, admission in air bag mess

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Florida State shooter was well-liked but troubled

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Officials downplay debates over Ebola aid response

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Israeli mayor’s ban on Arab workers ignites uproar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Protesters, police clash in Mexico before marches

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Egypt acquits doctor in female genital mutilation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Slain beauty queen, sister buried in Honduras

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Boko Haram said to kill about 45 people in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Why are we still changing clock times?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 17 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons: Nov. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A11

 
Thank you to businesses that support veterans

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
 
Thank you for saving my purse

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

I have several part-time jobs and have no time or money for a personal life

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Nov. 21-27, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Mike Nichols, crafter of films, plays, dies at 83

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hollywood pays tribute to Mike Nichols

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Five memorable movies from Mike Nichols

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Highlights from Mike Nichols’ multi-genre career

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Handler apologizes for watermelon joke at awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

O’Keeffe painting sells for record $44.4M in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
TV Land pulls ‘Cosby Show’ from lineup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 1 Comment

Mysterious sculpture recovered from River Seine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Review: Revolution gathering in ‘Mockingjay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar Nov. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
How a ‘tiny hamster’ video gets made

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
James Nesbitt as a father whose child disappears

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Bulldogs, Wildcats into SJS quarterfinals

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7

 
Raiders snap 16-game skid with 24-20 win vs. KC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Giants confident they’re in Pablo Sandoval chase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Intense Boldin keeps making big catches for 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Hendrick gives Kahne 3-year contract extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

NASCAR: Johnson says Harvick was correct winner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Jared Goff growing into role of Cal’s ‘Golden Boy’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

JC volleyball: Falcons have 4 players earn all-BVC honors

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

 
Manfred given 5-year term as baseball commissioner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Bills’ home game against Jets relocated to Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
AP source: Bermuda to host 2017 America’s Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

FIFA to review World Cup corruption report

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Union appeals Adrian Peterson’s suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Lewis in range of big prize at Tour Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This week in sports history for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Prep football capsules: Week 12

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

Cousins, Gay lead Kings past Bulls, 103-88

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Bjugstad leads Panthers to 3-2 SO win over Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

LaCrosse rides Buick’s high reliability rating

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Ford gets the aluminum F-150 ready for prime time

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Polls: Employers still prioritize health coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
New Mexico lawmakers grill spaceport boss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Family gets $6.75 million in Botox treatment case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Gap names heads of namesake brand, Banana Republic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

AT&T pays $23.8 M to settle hazardous-waste case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Soaring generic drug prices draw Senate scrutiny

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

US home sales rise in October

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
US unemployment aid applications fall to 291,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Country of origin label for meat cuts endangered

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9