From Paris: Good News for Israel, Better News for the Palestinians

At last Friday’s international conference on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, convened by France, there were some positive signs for the Jewish state, notes Zalman Shoval: President François Hollande acknowledged that the conflict is not the Middle East’s biggest problem and Germany, the UK, Russia, and the U.S. subtly indicated their lack of enthusiasm for a French-led peace initiative. Nonetheless, the big winners were the Palestinians, even if they didn’t get everything they hoped for:

As far as [the Palestinians] are concerned, the very fact that the conference took place and the chance that it might have a sequel plays into their game of internationalizing the conflict as much as possible—in other words, reaching a written agreement without direct negotiations with Israel and without concessions or compromise on their part. The original intention of the French was even more radical and imbalanced: to pay lip service to the idea of negotiations, but announce from the outset that if the negotiations failed, Paris would recognize a Palestinian state. In other words, [it would have been] an invitation to the Palestinians to dig in their heels.

For now, the French might have lowered the gun they had pointed at Israel, but they are repeating the standard refrain that the settlements (which they equate with acts of terrorism) are the main thing bogging down the peace process, and have even added a cry for “a full end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967,” ignoring the reasons for the “occupation” and in total contradiction of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which conditioned an Israeli withdrawal from “territories” (not all of them) on the establishment of secure and recognized boundaries.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: France, Francois Hollande, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Peace Process

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas