Friday, February 17, 2017

Hamas Elections

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

Hamas just held an election. As with everything Hamas related, it was fraught with controversy. Putting that aside รข€“ we can now say that Hamas has a new head and his name is Yahya Sinwar.

This is bad news all around - for Israel, for the West, for Gaza and for Hamas.
Sinwar is even more extreme than previous leadership. First and most importantly, he was in an Israeli prison and released only because of the prison swap for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Yahya Sinwar is a free man because of an exchange and yet, he has put unrealistic and extreme preconditions on any swap with Israel. He is demanding that all 50 prisoners who were released for Shalit in 2014 and then re-arrested after the kidnapping and murder of the 3 Israeli teenagers, be released.

And then he is demanding the release of dozens of other prisoners before he will even begin to talk about returning the bodies of Israelis killed in the most recent Gaza operations and the freeing of two Israelis who accidentally wandered into Gaza.

These are non-starters.

Even more dramatic and more dangerous is that Yahya Sinwar wants to rekindle relations with Iran. Previous Hamas leadership was interested in mending fences with Egypt. But moving towards Iran means Hamas will receive money and weapons that could have a huge impact on the safety of Israelis.

Running to Iran is never a good sign when it comes to power and politics in the Middle East.

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