Only a few weeks ago, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to get away with it all. He rebuffed the Obama administration’s peace overtures, expanded illegal settlements in the West Bank, and reneged on his agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by refusing to release the last batchof prisoners, the 26 longest serving political prisoners in Israeli jails.
Even the dramatic turn of events in the Middle East seemed to work in Israel’s favour, as its nemeses grew ever more preoccupied, if not paralysed by their internal problems.
As for Hamas, it was on a downturn and growing increasingly unpopular. It was financially bankrupt and unable to pay salaries to its own rather big bureaucracy running the Gaza Strip. It was under siege, and under pressure to do something, anything to ease life in the sprawling Gaza prison camp.
The election of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as president of Egypt after a military coup, tightened the noose around Hamas and Gaza. The general, having risen to power by ousting the Muslim Brotherhood, loathed the Islamist Hamas no less….
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