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Long road still before Israel-Hamas arrangement

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs quiet on the Gaza Strip, but fears saying publicly that he’s in favor of an arrangement with Hamas.
Senior Hamas leader Fathi Hammad speaks during a rally marking the 32nd anniversary of Hamas founding, in the northern Gaza Strip December 13, 2019.  REUTERS/Mohammed Salem - RC2CUD9KU5TZ
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Israel’s security Cabinet discussed a long-term arrangement with Hamas Dec. 29, just four days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was publicly embarrassed by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip disrupting his political rally in the town of Ashkelon. To the sounds of the blaring siren warning of an incoming rocket, Netanyahu’s bodyguards hustled him offstage Dec. 25 and took him to a sheltered area, in an incident eerily reminiscent of a rocket launch in September during a Netanyahu election rally in the nearby town of Ashdod. The September rocket did not appear to have any logical reason other than, perhaps, arrogance on the part of Islamic Jihad or its desire to boost morale within the ranks.

The unprovoked September rocket led Israeli defense officials to wonder whether the long-term deal under discussion with Hamas was truly the best default option for dealing with the Gaza problem. Would easing the blockade of the Gaza Strip and granting some relief to its residents guarantee an end to the festering violence against Israeli border communities?

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