A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
January 20, 2008 Israel Closes Off Gaza
By the end of last week, in a move that was barely noticed, Israel closed off all the crossings into Gaza and cut off humanitarian relief and the delivery of oil. The power plant in Gaza was shut down, and the power is almost completely off in Gaza.
Spokesmen in Gaza are claiming that a humanitarian disaster is in the immediate offing. It seems a little quick, and Israel claims there is plenty of oil still in Gaza. Tonight Hamas has organized a huge rally by candle light to protest.
An interesting game of chicken is being played in Gaza. Israel has upped the ante as Hamas has increased the rocket fire on Sderot. It has effectively stated that if Hamas keeps firing it is going to make the life of Gazan residents even more of a hell than it has been until now. Hamas is trying to get the world to pay attention and force Israel to relent. Israel knows it can only push so far before the pressure builds. However, Israel's room for maneuver is greater than it has been in the past. The world seems to care little about Gaza and actually understands Israelís position. However, pictures of dying Gazan children will be a line that should not be crossed. It is of course unclear if Hamas will act rationally in this situation.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah gave his first public speech yesterday since September 2006. He claimed to have body parts of Israeli soldier from the Second Lebanon War. He offered to negotiate for their return. In his speech, Nasrallah also spoke about suicide bombing deaths which he praised. To many, Nasrallah's speech seemed to be a sign that he was losing it. His statements were denounced by many in the Arab world. In Israel, there was resumed call for his assassination.