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Gaza border violence: Another threat to Palestinian statehood?

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“Israel will save no effort to spoil the agreement. Israel well knows the renewal of violence along the Gaza-Israel borders will hamper the Palestinian efforts for both statehood and reconciliation,” says Mukhaimar Abu Saada, a Gaza-based political analyst and writer. “This also means that Israel can no more use the internal Palestinian conflict as an excuse to avoid carrying out its obligations regarding peace talks and solving the prolonged conflict with the Palestinians.”

Who's behind the escalation?

But some analysts say influential members of Hamas’s military wing who oppose the reconciliation with Fatah might be behind the last round of violence.

“Hamas had to sign the reconciliation agreement because of popular pressure as well as losing its patron, the Syrian regime, which is now busy working to extinguish a popular revolution that aims to topple the government there,” says Atef Abu Saif, a professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

Now that Hamas is not coming under any pressure, says Prof. Abu Saif, there are many Hamas military commanders who are unwilling to reconcile with Fatah and are not ready to give up the fortune and power they have gained since 2007, when they took over Gaza, formerly controlled by Fatah.

“Knowing the fact that Israel cannot launch a war because of the regional developments, those Hamas commandos might have attempted to open a new front in the fight against Israel to distract from the growing calls to finalize the reconciliation pact,” he says.

Hamas officials, however, hold Israel responsible for the military escalation, accusing it of creating pretexts to carry out more attacks on Gaza.

“We have agreed on a truce, and it’s Israel who broke it, not the Palestinians. The international community should see who is attacking the other,” says Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas member of Parliament. “We will fight back if the Israelis keep targeting us.”

Israel's retaliation

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