Lessons from Gaza

(Washington Post) Jackson Diehl - The most important outcome of the latest Gaza crisis is the consolidation of a new Islamist front as Israel's principal Arab counterpart, adversary and potential interlocutor. It comprises not just Hamas but the allied, Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Egypt, with Turkey and Qatar as supporting partners. As a simple, pragmatic matter, "uprooting" Hamas is no longer an option. Not only does Hamas have the support of the region's richest and most powerful governments, but it is preferable to the most obvious Gazan alternative, which is jihadist movements even more closely tied to Iran. Yet the new Islamic front is far weaker than the post-truce celebrations in Gaza suggest. Hamas once again demonstrated that it lacks the means to do more than frighten or inconvenience Israelis. Meanwhile, much of Hamas' governing infrastructure has been destroyed. It's reasonable to forecast that the Islamists will grow still weaker in the next several years. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood will be blamed for its inevitable failure to meet post-revolutionary expectations. At the same time, this Gaza episode may finally finish off the stubbornly persistent notion that Israel should negotiate a peace settlement with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority without Hamas' involvement.

2012-11-26 00:00:00

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