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Netanyahu needs Hamas to rule Gaza, not Abbas

In order to preserve himself politically, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs an arrangement with Hamas.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem October 28, 2018. Oded Balilty/Pool via REUTERS - RC18EB7B0910
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It has been almost 10 years since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that if he was elected, he would order the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to invade Gaza, bring down the Hamas regime and destroy the terror nest that it has become. On Oct. 29, Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel “has no interest in toppling the Hamas regime.” The prime minister summoned political reporters and regaled them with a very detailed and convincing speech as to why Israel has no current interest in bringing down Hamas and would, therefore, make do with reaching an arrangement to keep Gaza from total collapse. The reasoning, in Netanyahu’s own words, was that the collapse of Gaza “would blow up in our faces.” He then went on to blame Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the collapse of Gaza’s humanitarian infrastructures.

Until now, Netanyahu has built up his image as the macho strongman, facing off against Hamas. He even used a similar expression as a slogan in previous election campaigns. He made a sharp distinction between his own policies and those of the previous governments, with particular emphasis on Ehud Olmert’s policies. But Olmert led the IDF through Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and ground maneuvers in Gaza, stopping before Hamas was defeated for all the same reasons that Netanyahu listed this week. Back then, Netanyahu lashed out at Olmert, then-Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak, declaring that things will look very different under him. Today, it became quite clear that he wasn’t quite telling the truth, or as it is described in Israel, “The things we see from here can’t be seen from there” — meaning that things look different from the prime minister’s seat. For the first time ever, Netanyahu admitted as much.

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