Sunday, December 28, 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

New circulation director for Daily Republic has California roots

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Suisun’s transformation launched 25 years ago

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
AARP tax program seeks volunteers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Holiday shopping continues after Christmas

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Kwanzaa educates, celebrates African-American heritage

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Rush Ranch plans birds of prey workshop

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Winter feeding of backyard birds

By Launa Herrmann | From Page: C4, 1 Comment

Weather for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
Market predictions for 2015

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Projects to watch in 2015

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

 
County graduates complete basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

 
Shoppers brawl inside Northern California mall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 7 Comments

Death penalty states unmoved by botched execution

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

 
Arizona police officer, suspect killed in shootout

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

 
School error takes money from staff bank accounts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Protester in St. Louis area charged with arson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Spokesman: George H.W. Bush remains in hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

2 small planes collide in Maryland; no injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Lava creeps 15 yards closer to Hawaii marketplace

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

NYC officer mourned at funeral as tensions linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Drought, plastic bags prompt new California laws

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Final goodbye: Roll call of some who died in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Families take future war dogs into homes as foster pups

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Woman uses quilt to help those in military

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Snow, ice sweep Europe, stranding drivers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Del. WWII vet honored with medals 70 years later

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
Pilot recalls last flight to Cyprus airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Wanted extremist leader surrenders in Somalia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Redrawn districts made for some tight races

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Putin’s epic annual news conference, condensed

By Ishaan Tharoor | From Page: A8

Leaders fan flames of racial hatred

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 54 Comments

 
Sound Off: Dec. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Dec. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Why do we celebrate Christmas, part two

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3, 2 Comments

 
Comforting immigrants is nun’s mission

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Bethel Community Church buys Temple Baptist site

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Pope’s role in Cuba deal fractures Cuban-American flock

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 28, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

My son’s cat is being neglected and I don’t know what to do

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Blagojevich brother: I was fed ‘pawn’ to get then-governor

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Company loses bid for rights to Marvel superheroes

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jonah Lehrer working on book about digital life

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

No. 1 Kentucky holds off No. 4 Louisville 58-50

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vanden’s Koss named 2014 DR Male Athlete of the Year

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Broncos see a much better Raiders team this time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cardinals have hopes of division crown, 12 wins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors shake off skid, beat Timberwolves 110-97

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sam: Coming out was right thing to do

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vikings stadium builders work on career highlight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Devils replace DeBoer with 3-headed coaching staff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Authorities question Cubs’ Castro after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Browns suspend receiver Josh Gordon, Manziel late

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sports deaths: elegant Tony Gwynn, Jean Beliveau

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
 
Cousins leads Kings past Knicks 135-129 in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Anze Kopitar leads LA Kings past Sharks, 3-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
First Step seeks players, help for 2015 season

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Devil Dawgs retiring after run of success

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Virginia Tech beats Cincy 33-17 in Military Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

S Carolina tops Miami 24-21 in Independence Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Arizona State beats Duke 36-31 in Sun Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Penn State tops Boston College 31-30 in OT in Pinstripe Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Kessler leads No. 24 USC to 45-42 win over Huskers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Jameis, Marcus and Mickey: Rose Bowl week starts at Disney

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Bowling report for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

 
Top business stories of 2014: US grows, world slows

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

BP appeals rejection of removing spill claims head

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Why areas with good jobs have hard-to-afford homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

US company to open tuna cannery in American Samoa

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

 
Ruling opens door for cruise malpractice lawsuits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

6 US cities: Good jobs but hard-to-afford homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

 
.

Obituaries

Judy Zamora Rogers

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Concordia Albang Lichauco

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Oriole Ernestine Cohen

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Rae Jean Malveaux

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
.

Secrets of Success 2014

120 Years: Fentons still a treat after all this time

By Susan Winlow | From Page: SOS2, 1 Comment | Gallery

80 Years: Gillespie’s adapts to meet customer needs, thrives

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS5 | Gallery

60 Years: Ryan’s Automotive hits milestone of service

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS6, 1 Comment | Gallery

55 Years: Mary’s Pizza Shack keeps dishing the pies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: SOS7 | Gallery

50 Years: Cal Yee Farms marks half-century – and counting

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS7 | Gallery

40 Years: Floors To Go weathers recession, bounces back strong

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS8 | Gallery

40 Years: Vaca Valley Auto Parts a Fairfield mainstay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: SOS9 | Gallery

35 Years: Scandia Family Fun Center roots run deep

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

35 Years: Vogelpohl prides herself as problem solver

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

35 Years: Medic Ambulance rolling strong

By Barry Eberling | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

30 Years: Sportabout all about tennis – and shoes of all sorts

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

30 Years: North Bay Pediatrics serves children, parents

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

35 Years: More than 1,700 home sales – and counting – for Watson

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

25 Years: It’s always showtime for Fairfield’s Finger

By Tony Wade | From Page: SOS12 | Gallery

25 Years: Feins helps build memories through Air Land & Sea Travel

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS13 | Gallery

20 Years: Quality breeds success for Universal Painting

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS14 | Gallery

10 Years: By the People helps with basic, complex legal issues

By Susan Hiland | From Page: SOS15 | Gallery