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Egypt enraged at Netanyahu over Gaza

Egypt blames Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for sparking the latest escalation on the Gaza border by sabotaging Palestinian reconciliation efforts.

Hamas' demonstrations have been taking place along the border fence for over a month now. The number of participants may have dropped, but the violence has intensified, with many Palestinians getting hurt and even killed. The Israeli military is currently investigating the death of a 15-year-old boy who was shot dead April 21. Nevertheless, there is almost universal consensus in Israel surrounding the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) measures to prevent Palestinians from breaking through the fence. Apart from a few isolated voices identified with the far left, there is hardly any criticism of the IDF for using snipers to prevent people from damaging the fence. These snipers only fire under direct order from a battalion commander or officer of higher rank to neutralize situations in which the fence could be breached, since a breach would require the IDF to open deadly fire at hundreds or thousands of Gazans trying to break into Israel. Almost everyone agrees that there is no alternative.

This approach ignores that Israel’s political leadership did have another way available to it. According to senior sources involved in contacts between Israel, Egypt, the United States and the Palestinian Authority over the last two years, Israel should take part of the blame for Hamas having reached another dead end, which it is trying to break through with force. According to this view, an alternative existed, but Israel preferred to undermine it.

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