Israel is apparently preparing for a significant confrontation in Gaza; the head of the Israeli spy service, Yuval Diskin, has said that unless moderate factions in the Palestinian occupied territories get stronger, Israel will have to target the radical (read: Hamas) factions by force. According to the spy head, thirty tons of arms, munitions and explosives have been stockpiled in Gaza. Consequently, Israel will be allowing the Badr Brigade, which is faithful to Fatah, to enter Gaza from Jordan. The hope is that this way Fatah will get the necessary influence to phase out the democratically-elected Hamas.

Israel’s issue with Hamas is obviously its terrorist past; Israeli officials are having trouble believing that Hamas can truly commit to democracy over violence. Unfortunately, the new government is not getting much of a chance, with fund transfers to the Palestinian Authority being suspended immediately upon Hamas’ election, leaving civil servants without pay. The other issue is Hamas’ refusal to recognize Israel. It makes sense for Israel to be upset, it would seem, but Hamas has a bit of a point; Palestine is not recognized as a state yet, and it makes no sense for the Palestinians to give up the only bargaining chip they have left until Israel is ready to recognize a Palestinian state.

Furthermore, Hamas is not denying Israel’s right to exist, implicitly recognizing it. Zee News quotes Hamas’ Mussa Abu Marzuk saying, “The question of recognizing Israel is an unprecedented one on the international level. It was not asked from the two Germanys to recognize each other, while the whole world recognized them.” There’s no denial there.