News Analysis: Despite Iran-U.S. conflict, Palestinian militants in Gaza not ready to take actions

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 11, 2020
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by Emad Drimly, Saud Abu Ramadan

GAZA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Despite the latest conflict between Iran and the U.S., Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, Iran's allies, are not ready to attack Israel, the U.S. ally, in revenge on Iran's behalf, analysts said.

The Palestinians are afraid that the Iran-U.S. conflict would lead to a new wave of confrontation between Palestinian militants in Gaza Strip and Israel, as the enclave is ruled by the Islamic Hamas movement, one of Iran's main allies.

But Palestinian analysts believed that the Palestinian militants are cautious at this moment about whether they should take actions to show solidarity with Iran.

Husam Dajjani, a Gaza-based political analyst, who is specialized in studying Islamic movements, said the interests of the Palestinian factions and their military wings in Gaza Strip "mainly dominate their behaviors in dealing with the Iran-U.S. crisis."

"I rule out that these factions and military wings will go for a comprehensive confrontation with Israel because they prefer to wait and see what will be the results of this tension," he said.

"But if the Iran-U.S. tension escalates and becomes comprehensive, for their own interests, I believe they will join the battle," Dajjani added.

The situation between Israel and the Hamas-led military wing in the Gaza Strip is fragile and can ignite new conflicts at any time, according to the analysts.

On Wednesday, Iran fired over a dozen of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. forces in revenge for the killing of senior Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad airport last week.

Hani al-Masri, director of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy Research & Strategic Studies, said the Iranian missile strikes "were important because it is the first time since a long time ago that a country strikes on a U.S. base."

However, the missile strikes showed that Iran is not interested in going to a war in the region with the U.S., said al-Masri. "This is clear, but I think Iran will not keep silent, and it will put its military allies in the region on alert for revenge," he said.

The analysts agreed that Iran's response to the killing of a leading commander like Soleimani wasn't proportional to the grave Iranian threat for revenge, but this would keep the door open for future attacks carried out by Iran's allies such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Ismail Haniyeh, chief of Hamas, and Zeyad Nakhala, leader of the Islamic Jihad movement, led two delegations to Iran to pay condolences for the death of Soleimani.

But the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, based in areas of the West Bank since the Hamas-Fatah split in 2007, kept silent and didn't issue any political statement or reaction to the killing of Soleimani, contrary to the Gaza factions.

Amid rising Iran-U.S. confrontation, Israel sent messages through a third mediator to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, warning them against carrying out any attacks on Israel in revenge for the killing of the Iranian general.

Mekhemer Abu Se'da, a political science professor at al-Azhar University in Gaza, said there are no signs that the killing of Soleimani "would immediately influence the existing calm, brokered by Egypt, between Israel and Hamas-led factions."

Hamas, which was directly involved in three large-scale Israeli military offensives on the Gaza Strip, prefers to reach a long-term truce with Israel to keep its power in the coastal enclave.

Hamas has been ruling the Gaza Strip since the summer of 2007 after it had violently seized control of the enclave following weeks of fighting with the security forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority.

Talal Oukal, a Gaza-based political analyst, said that one of the major priorities of Hamas is "to keep the Gaza Strip away from any regional conflicts."

"I believe that the Palestinian factions and the military wings in the Gaza Strip made a good logical decision not to get involved into any regional conflict," said Oukal, adding that their capabilities are insufficient to go for a comprehensive war with Israel. Enditem

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