A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
January 10, 2010 Gaza Border Heats Up, Shalit Talks May be at an Impasse
Things seem to be heating up on the Gaza border. There have been 18 rockets and mortars fired at southern Israel in the last few days, and Israel has responded with two air attacks on Gaza. The actions, which have been taken by non-Hamas groups with the obvious nod and a wink by Hamas, are mainly a result of the tensions between Hamas and Egypt. Israeli observers believe that Hamas is not interested in becoming embroiled in a confrontation with Israel at the moment. I am not so sure. Hamas may think a confrontation with Israel is a way to forestall the Egyptians from finishing their wall. Plus, with Israel preparing to deploy their Iron Dome system in a few months, Hamas may lose their only effective non-PR weapon against Israel.
In a related development, Hamas seems stunned by Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement over the weekend that Israels last offer for Gilad Shalit, was indeed their final "take it or leave it" offer. It's not clear what happens from here, but observers believe the Shalit talks may have reached an impasse. Representatives of the Ahmed Jabril terror organization stated today that they could not insure Shalits safety indefinately.
Two articles worth reading: One from Newsweek online Israels PR Problem , a problem I have palpably felt, since I was a teenager. It has always been incredibly frustrating how little thought and effort (and money) has gone into Israels propoganda efforts over the years. The other article came from last week's Newsweek, which I only got around to reading over this weekend Who Needs Peace, Love and Understanding Anyway, written by Dan Ephorn. It's worth reading, as I think he captured Israels mood very well. As a related postcript, Merryl Lynch forecast on Friday that the Israeli economy will grow by 3.5% this year, one of the best rates of economic growth in the developed world.