Two views on Israelis v/s Palestinians
One can witness Israel panelists on Israeli online i24news overwhelmingly conceding defeat and advising their rulers to free Gaza from the seize or Israel itself will remain in siege for ever.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
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Hamas gets a rap in the Arab world for provoking Israel
By Siraj Wahab in Jeddah
As Palestinian casualties rise following Israel's ground invasion of Gaza, there has been significant criticism of Hamas in the mostly Sunni Arab world.
Hamas, which has been ruling Gaza since 2005, is seen as an Iranian proxy in a region where every move of Shiite Tehran is eyed with suspicion and derision. Yasser Arafat's Fatah, currently headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, is seen as the real and legitimate representatives of the Palestinians.
Hamas is hardcore Sunni but since it is not supported by the Arab countries, Iran has cultivated it to further its political goals in the Sunni-dominated region.
Many credible analysts have gone to the extent of saying that the current conflict may have been engineered by Iran to take the pressure off Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Iran's major proxy, Hezbollah, fought off a major Israeli attack in the past and it then went on a killing spree on behalf of Assad against the Sunnis of Syria.
While Israel continues to invite the ire of all Arabs, it is Iran that is seen as the real, long-term threat.
Eyad Abu Shakra, managing editor of the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat, says the Iranian leadership discovered some time ago that there is a significant commonality of interest between Tehran and Tel Aviv.
"The Iran-Contra scandal was an early indication of Tehran’s pragmatism, based on the idea that 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend.' Today, the intersection of Israeli and Iranian interests manifests itself in the war on 'terrorists,' in Tel Aviv’s discourse, and against 'takfirists' (extremist Sunnis) in the parlance of Iran," said Abu Shakra in his recent piece.
"Regionally Israel requires, if only on a temporary basis, that Iran use its affiliates in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq for the protection of Israel’s borders. In return, Iran is seeking full control of the Arab Mashreq, from the Gulf to the Mediterranean."
According to Abu Shakra, Israel does not seem to be opposed to Iran’s aspirations and actions because it benefits if Tehran succeeds in protecting its borders, and benefits even more if Tehran’s failure intensifies the intra-Islamic civil war.
Taking a dig at Hamas, high-profile Saudi journalist Salman Al-Dossary said the current conflict is all too familiar.
"Hamas provokes Israel; the latter responds to the blow with a thousand of its own. Israel doesn’t find those it is searching for, so it takes out its anger on the innocent Palestinian people ... But it’s only a few more days and the Israeli war will end. Hamas leaders will reappear after hiding underground throughout the war, to return to their former locations once the billions of dollars’ worth of humanitarian aid has been received," he wrote in a major Saudi publication.
"Israeli jets will safely return to their bases, and Hamas will stop firing missiles too. The biggest loser is the Palestinian people," wrote Al-Dossary. "It was the same story with Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah in 2006. Half of Lebanon was destroyed, and then eventually Hezbollah deployed its weapons for the killing of innocent Syrians."
Popular Saudi columnist Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, says Hamas does not pay much attention to the number of dead Palestinians. "Hamas is not gaining anything by locking horns with Israel," he wrote in his column in the Jeddah-based Arab News.
Asking pointed questions, Al-Mulhim said: "Does Hamas receive orders from abroad? Some of Hamas missiles are either from Iran or used Iranian technologies. So, the question is, can Hamas use these missiles or its technologies without a green light from Iran and is the attack from Gaza planned by the Iranians to take some of the pressure off Bashar Assad?"
According to him, Hamas had been in isolation from the day it took control of Gaza because of its behavior.
"So, maybe Hamas wanted to emerge from this isolation and catch the world’s attention... Hamas leaders are jet setters. They travel high class, stay at the best hotels and eat the best food but their people are not paid their salaries on time," said Al-Mulhim, articulating the widespread indignation at Hamas for sacrificing innocent Palestinian blood.
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