Nor should it be ignored that the Hamas initiative comes immediately following the American elections as it has long been speculated that Israel may use the interregnum period to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat. Focusing Israeli and world attention on Gaza serves both their interests as it does Hamas' own. After all, the much discussed Israeli Fatah led Palestinian deal buttressed by a Saudi led Arab world is specifically designed to sideline Hamas as well as Syria and Iran. Moreover, heating up Israel's Southern border helps Sunni Hamas demonstrate its value to its Shia allies.
If I were the Israeli defense minister I would watch carefully my northern border. Hezbollah may not wish to be outdone by Hamas. The next few months are bound to be tough on Israel as the everybody in the Middle East is jockeying for position ahead of coming of a new American administration.
In the midst of it all, the American public continues to keep faith with Israel. A recent poll finds that regardless of media and academic propaganda, only 6% of the American public believes that US should back Palestinians in peace talks:
Only 6 percent of Americans think the United States should stand behind the Palestinians in Middle East peace talks, according to a recent poll of voters conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and commissioned by The Israel Project.
Comparatively, 66 percent of those polled said the U.S. should support Israel in the peace process. Some 80 percent of GOP voters and 59 percent of Democratic were among those backing U.S. support for Israel.
Despite"all the problems America now faces at home," 58 percent of those polled agreed more with the statement that"America needs to stand with Israel" than with"Israel needs to take care of itself."
Of those polled, only 19 percent think"making peace between Israel and the Palestinians" should be among President-elect Barack Obama's top foreign policy priorities.
Almost two-thirds of Americans said they were more concerned about the nuclear standoff with Iran; some 72 percent of those polled agreed with the statement that"even with all the problems that America faces at home now, we must still work hard to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons."
When asked what the next president should make as his top priority in foreign policy, 56 percent mentioned"ending the war in Iraq" and 41 percent said"restoring global economic growth."
Another 35 percent said Obama must focus on"defeating Al-Qaida and the Taliban," while 33 percent listed"preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons" as one of the most important tasks facing the U.S.
Meanwhile, 15 percent believe the U.S. must work on"dealing with the instability in Pakistan," while 8 percent are worried about"meeting the threat of Putin's Russia."
I hope president-elect Obama listens.