Hamas stop rocket attacks, but it has not said it will try to topple the Islamic militants who have ruled the territory for 18 months.has dropped tons of bombs on the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented show of force to make
Such a limited definition of goals gives Israel considerable flexibility in deciding when to end the assault, especially if international pressure mounts, while still calling it a success. But this guarded approach also offers Hamas good survival odds, even if the onslaught leaves it badly weakened.
Israel’s unwillingness to reoccupyor openly try to install a new ruler there gives Hamas considerable leverage in future cease-fire negotiations.
By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer
In exchange for calm on Israel’s border, Hamas demands an end to the crippling blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Hamas takeover of Gaza 18 months ago. Hamas, which won 2006 parliamentary elections, seized control after a power-sharing agreement with the rival Fatah movement collapsed in violence.
Ending the blockade could help Hamas recover quickly and prolong its rule indefinitely. That, in turn, would all but destroy prospects of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Israel has been negotiating for the past year with Hamas’ rival, moderate, who controls the West Bank. However, Israel says it cannot implement an agreement as long as the Iranian-backed Hamas, sworn to Israel’s destruction, controls half of what would be a Palestinian state.