Hamas hopes to shatter the policy of sanctions Israel has imposed on Gaza. Egypt hoped it would not have to get involved in blocking the Gaza aid convoy and that Israel would take the responsibility exclusively upon itself. But Cairo is now starting to feel the strain, and is beginning to understand that it will need to provide practical answers to the public pressure Turkey and other Arab states are exerting.
Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza, knew better than Israel when he predicted that even if the aid convoy did not reach Gaza, Gaza would have won. So while Haniyeh’s political rivals, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister Salam Fayad, are engaging in indirect negotiations with Israel, and while the United States is pushing the two parties into direct talks, the Israel Defense Forces is kicking the diplomatic initiative down the drain. How can Abbas and Fayad continue negotiations, even indirect ones, when a flotilla meant to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza gets attacked? Hamas can now pat itself on the back for another achievement – the resistance it is now advocating is non-violent, and conducted through international organizations, thereby eliminating the need for rocket fire.