Wednesday, September 17, 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

David Grant doctor’s mission continues

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Chamber PAC draws candidates to Jelly Belly

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Damaged dog gets going-away party after getting healthy

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Police enlist help to find armed bandit

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Suisun City slaying suspect case moves forward

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Touro University to host Zombie Run/Walk

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Land trust organizes Rockville Trails Preserve hike

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
 
Suisun police to host medication take-back

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

Chamber to host Suisun City candidates night

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

 
Coastal Cleanup Day targets local waterways

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Judge questions juror in Calkins case

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

Drama reigns supreme with week’s film debuts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Anti-drug programs face funding shortfall

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A8

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 13, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Sept. 13, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Sept. 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Suisun City police log: Sept. 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Weather for Sept. 17, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B14

.

US / World

Woman in wildfire’s path lost almost everything

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Lumber town takes stock after wind-driven wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

PG&E officials leave posts over improper emails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Governor signs first California groundwater rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Things to know about California groundwater law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
California drivers must give bikes 3-foot buffer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

San Francisco trying shaming for quake safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
UN: Nearly $1 billion needed now to stop Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

CDC study: Americans’ bellies are expanding fast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Blacks, Hispanics have doubts about media accuracy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

School bus driver killed during safety drill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Hunt on for survivalist charged in trooper killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Robbery suspects tried to make off with $15,600

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Top general: US ground troops possible in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Obama: Ebola outbreak a threat to global security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Afghan suicide bomber kills 3 foreign troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Mexico airlifts tourists after Hurricane Odile

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Ukraine lawmakers ratify landmark deal with Europe

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

Iraq parliament rejects interior, defense nominees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

Brown dons rose-tinted glasses for look backward

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 
Time for utility execs to start worrying

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 17, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Climate change: Complacent vs. apocalyptic

By John M. Crisp | From Page: A11

 
Column focus on campaign signs misplaced

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 12 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 17, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My selfish husband neglects and cheats on me. What’s next?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 17, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

All the flavors of fall in one twice-baked package

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Leave them feeling full with nutritious chia seeds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

A late summer Southern classic – tomato pie

By Elizabeth Karmel | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

CBS: Rihanna out of NFL telecast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Leonardo DiCaprio named UN Messenger of Peace

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Kazmir, sloppy Athletics lose 6-3 to Rangers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Armijo volleyball team falls to Vintage

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Peavy, Posey help Giants gain ground in NL West

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Prep volleyball preview: Big goals for city teams

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders games are like live reruns

By Tony Wade | From Page: B1

 
Sacramento Kings to retire Stojakovic’s jersey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Broncos, Seahawks top AP Pro32 before rematch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Union appeals Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension by NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jaguars sign Rodriguez grad Jensen off practice squad

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B2

 
Short stay at NASCAR’s party for AJ and Almirola

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hindsight: a Ryder Cup tradition, like no other

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Senator ties NFL tax status to Redskins name

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

DA: Josh Gordon gets probation in DWI case in NC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Anheuser-Busch, McDonald’s voice NFL disapproval

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Criticism mounting for Vikings, Adrian Peterson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
McIlroy wins PGA player of the year award

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Grand jury to weigh case of NASCAR’s Tony Stewart

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
49ers defense looks to bounce back from tough day

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

.

Business

NASA picks Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Web filter lifts block on gay sites

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Alibaba risk: China’s rise leaves out investors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Corinthian Colleges sued for predatory lending

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

UPS expects to hire up to 95,000 seasonal workers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
US CEOs less optimistic about hiring, spending

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Obituaries

Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Minnie Watkins Dixon

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5