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Pressure on Hamas will not turn people against it, insists Israeli academic

Image of the director of the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, Professor Eyal Zisser on 17 February 2014 [Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations/Facebook]
Image of the director of the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, Professor Eyal Zisser on 17 February 2014 [Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations/Facebook]

A professor of Middle East Studies at the Moshe Dayan Centre in Tel Aviv has said that increasing the pressure on Hamas will not turn people against the movement, Al-Resalah reported on Sunday. Eyal Zisser gave his opinion in an article for Israel Today, a newspaper close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Nevertheless, he pointed out that previous experience should teach Israel that continuous pressure on Hamas will necessarily lead to ousting it or helping the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Egypt to grab control of the Gaza Strip. “It is true that the Israeli policy towards Gaza is not ideal, but it has proved itself during the past few years,” he added.

Read: Former Israeli minister calls for dialogue with Hamas

“Israel accepts Hamas control of Gaza despite its disadvantages, but it continues putting pressure on it to the degree before the level of collapse,” Zisser explained, noting that this would continue as long as the borders with Gaza are secure and calm.

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“The crisis in Gaza reminds the Israelis that there are tension indicators,” the academic suggested, “and the possibility of a new military confrontation on the border with the enclave during the summer.”

Zisser claimed that the international community blames the situation in Gaza on Israel because the Israeli “disengagement” — the unilateral withdrawal of illegal settlers — from Gaza in 2005 was not based on legal grounds. “This obliges Israel as the occupying power to deal with the problems caused by the reduction of services in the Gaza Strip,” he concluded. “The crisis for Israel is that it must find a solution in order not to be dragged into a new military confrontation that does not benefit it.”

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