March 15, 2006

Jericho invasion, Guardian "might" know the answer

What happened in Jericho? and how? and why? Well the Guardian editorial this morning thinks it might know....maybe.
The sequence of events that led to the confrontation at the jail in Jericho yesterday, and to protests, arson and kidnapping elsewhere in the West Bank and Gaza, is not entirely clear.
So let's speculate a little shall we?
But it seems likely that Hamas, still in the process of forming a government after its victory in the Palestinian elections, sensed that it could win a small victory over the Israelis by releasing the militants held in Jericho.
Ok we won't just speculate, we'll ignore the fact that Hamas's election victory was itself a massive victory over Israel. But let's continue speculating all the same:
Hamas may have calculated that in the new situation following the January elections and with a de facto ceasefire more or less holding, Israel might not carry out the assassination threat, so that it was now safe to release them. Jack Straw may have calculated that the British could not be party to that so it was better to withdraw.
Ok the editorial does go on to apportion some blame on the invasion of Jericho to Israel but its starting point, indeed its main thrust, is to ignore the tradition of incumbent Israeli governments committing acts of massive violence as an election gimmick. We have been here before with Shimon Peres killing lots of refugees in a UN compound in Qana.

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