“Gaza Welcomes Break From Strife and Reopening of Border With Egypt”
The New York Times, June 20, 2015
“For much of the past year, Gaza has sat in frustrated isolation as it struggled to recover from a devastating war with Israel. But for the people of the battered coastal enclave, the past week brought some welcome signs of relief. First, Egypt opened its border crossing, allowing thousands of Palestinians to exit Gaza after being penned in for months. Then, Egypt allowed in 8,000 tons of cement, a fraction of what the territory needs to rebuild. But the move suggested a thaw in relations between the Egyptian government and Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs Gaza. Meanwhile, news has been emerging that Hamas has begun quiet negotiations with Israel via intermediaries to extend a truce and to ease the tight restrictions on the territory. The shifts underscore how far Hamas has staked out its own path, bypassing its reliance on the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah, the administrative center of the West Bank, for money and reconstruction. … But while Hamas appears to be striking out on its own, partly in response to what it sees as intransigence by its rivals in Ramallah, there are concerns that its recent moves might undermine Palestinian unity and compromise the campaign for an independent state. ‘There is some fear that we will have a separate state in Gaza,’ said Sameer Abumdallala, an economics lecturer at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. ‘This is dangerous to the national Palestinian project.’ … The materials were being transported through Israel, which appeared to be reluctantly shoring up the Hamas government, seeing it as a lesser evil than hard-line militants, loyal to the Islamic State, who now are trying to assert power in Gaza.”
Quickie analysis: Apparently Egypt and Israel have realized that Hamas is not the worst group operating in the Middle East right now.