Saturday, March 8, 2008

Islamists leave Israel no choice

Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor | March 08, 2008

THE attack yesterday in Jerusalem on a Jewish religious school in which eight civilians died disclosed important political trends.

It showed once more the depths of the divisions within the Palestinian leadership.

The Palestinian Authority, under its President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the attack.

On the other hand, Hamas, the Palestinian leadership in the Gaza Strip, praised the attack and Gazan civilians danced in the streets with joy. And the Israeli public understood once more that there is no proximate chance of peace in their long-running dispute with the Palestinians.

George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice have their reasons for continuing to pretend that there might be a peace agreement this year, but if they really believe this, which is unlikely, they could do more harm than good to the region.

The Gazan reaction to the Jerusalem attack also illustrates why, probably later this year, it is almost inevitable that there will be a huge Israeli operation in Gaza. Many people will die. The suffering will be acute.

Yet it is almost as if this is exactly what Hamas wants. It is impossible otherwise to explain its actions.


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