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Tahdiya Spurs Hamas's Military Buildup in the Gaza Strip

David Eshel

The Egyptian-brokered informal truce, or "Tahdiya" started Thursday, June 19, at 0600 hours and seems to be holding sofar. This not surprising, as Hamas has everything to gain and nothing to lose if it abides to it's Tahdiya, until it can restart the war, on it's own interest. Israel, on the other hand, has already tied the IDF to strict open-fire orders, which leave little scope for effective counter action, if so-called "irregulars" will open fire or plant exposives, on their own. It all happened before and it will again, when the time is right for Hamas.

The steel wal erected by Israel in an effort to protect its soldiers patrolling the separation line between Gaza and Egypt was toppled by Hamas engineers, in an attempt to ease the Israeli blockade on the Gaza strip.

The Egyptian government succeeded in securing a temporary cease-fire agreement [tahdiya] between Israel and Hamas. Hamas regards the temporary cease-fire as a tahdiya and not a hudna. A hudna implies recognition of the other party’s actual existence, without acknowledging its legitimacy. As Hamas’ leader Khaled Mashaal explained, a tahdiya is "a tactic in conflict management."

Senior columnist Sever Plocker severely criticized Ehud Olmert's decision to accept the Hamas "Tahdiya". Plocker in an article in Ynet: "When we talk about a Tahdiyah (Calm) agreement with Hamas," the word calm isn’t the problem. Rather, the agreement with Hamas is the problem".

According to Plocker, en route to the so-called "truce" agreement, Olmert's government shattered Israel's most important strategic advantage it possessed ever since Hamas came to power last June: The advantage of refusal. The refusal to engage in dialogue with Hamas, the refusal to recognize the legitimacy of its rule, the refusal to compromise with it, and the implied refusal to give Hamas international legitimacy. The Israeli public was mistakenly presented with only two options – a massive military operation, or appeasement. There was a third way too: Ongoing blows delivered at terror centers and leaders.

Had Israel persisted in its refusal to recognize Hamas, the regime in Gaza would have collapsed or fundamentally changed. Yet surprisingly, Israel deserted the path of refusal a short time after it managed, through great efforts, to convince Europe, the United States, Russia, and the United Nations to establish a united refusal front. Yet Jerusalem was the first to cut out a window in the boycott wall. Without making any diplomatic-ideological-strategic concession, Hamas was recognized by Israel as the legitimate master of the Gaza Strip, the authentic representative of the Palestinian people, and a partner for agreements of one kind or another. This is a priceless gift for Hamas. Without it, placed under continued pressure, both militarily and economically, Hamas would soon or later succumb. Yet surprisingly, it was not the weakened Hamas leadership that capitulated but the stronger Israel and its weak leadership.



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