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Israel reluctantly accepts Hamas rule

Israel has quietly changed its stance toward Gaza with a loosening of the blockade to improve the transfer of goods and movement of people in the hope of averting another explosion in the enclave.
Palestinians, hoping to cross into Egypt, climb a wall as policemen loyal to Hamas stand guard at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip January 20, 2015. Egyptian authorities opened Rafah crossing, Gaza's main window to the outside world, on Tuesday for three days, officials said. Egypt shut the crossing over violence with Islamist militants in Egypt's adjacent Sinai region last October. Since then, it opened the crossing partially and on a few occasions to allow thousands of Palestin

A war is being waged in the Sinai Peninsula between the regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the Islamic State (IS) entity, formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. It is an all-out, no-holds-barred war. Sisi knows that if he does not succeed in overcoming the deadly, recalcitrant terrorist elements in Sinai, it will be the beginning of the end of his regime. The Egyptians asked for and received authorization from Israel to operate heavy weapons and introduce arms into Sinai ordinarily prohibited there according to their peace treaty. Meanwhile the terrorists, on their part, are not taking it easy. They have been slaying scores of Egyptian soldiers and civilians in harsh attacks. Sisi decided to wipe the Egyptian city of Rafah off the map to create a completely sealed buffer zone between Gaza and Sinai. On Jan. 31, the Egyptian courts declared the military wing of Hamas a terrorist organization. It appears that the situation will only continue to intensify in the weeks and months to come.

The strategic balance in the region is as follows: Israel from the north, Gaza in the middle, Egypt's Sinai on the south. Gaza is blockaded on all sides, but armed to the teeth with missiles that can threaten Tel Aviv and most of the territory of the State of Israel. IS, meanwhile, is shedding much Egyptian blood in Sinai and does not appear to be on the verge of stopping. It's a free-for-all, everyone against everyone else, but only the residents of Gaza are trapped in a bubbling pressure cooker, which has exploded with growing intensity over the years.

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