Apr 13, 2006 12:38 pm


I know this is deadly, and I mean deadly, serious. Still, I could not suppress a chuckle at the following headline: Hamas blames Fatah for wave of rocket attacks on Israel. For years Hamas challenged (at times with PA secret acquiescence) the PA's right to set Palestinian policy towards Israel. The PA would negotiate and Hamas would announce that the agreements do not obligate the Hamas.

Indeed, all Hamas' current difficulties with the international community is based on its refusal to abide by agreements signed by previous PA leadership. Now Hamas is learning that what goes around, comes around. Fatah is undermining Hamas' unilateral cease fire with Israel by firing rockets and sending so as to prevent Hamas from proving that it can do a better job of maintaining actual peace than Fatah can.

"Their main goal is to drag Israel into a major confrontation in order to bring down the Hamas administration," a Hamas minister told the Post. He pointed out that Hamas was not involved in the firing of rockets and that the movement would continue to honor the unofficial truce, or tahdiyah, with Israel.

The minister said he did not rule out the possibility that some of the Palestinian Authority's security forces were also involved in the" conspiracy" to topple the Hamas cabinet.

"The situation is very dangerous," he said."I don't rule out the possibility that some of the [Palestinian] security forces and their commanders are behind the rocket attacks. They want to plunge the area into anarchy so that they can say that Hamas has failed."

Yes, indeed and deservedly so. Of course, this is not the first time attacking Israel served Arab infighting. Indeed, in May 1967 Gamal Abd'l Nasser assured Lyndon Johnson that his"real" purpose in challenging Israel by evicting the UN peace keeping troops from the Sinai was to demonstrate to the Arab world that Riyadh and Amman were"false friend." Then, and now, scuttling previous agreements came easy to autocratic Arab leaders. Now Fatah is trying to demonstrate to the Palestinian people that Hamas is a"false alternative."

As those familiar with the ME often quip:"If Israel had not existed, the Arabs would have had to invent her." But Israel does exist and it must do all it can to discourage this most dangerous game. This does not sit well with many members of the international community but it must never be forgotten that, in the past, full blown wars followed the failure of such Israeli efforts at deterrence.

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