Sinwar helped shift responsibility for Gaza from Israel to Egypt, analyst says

Head of the Egyptian Intelligence Service Abbas Kamil meets Hamas' Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar in Gaza City (Ashraf Amra - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  July 8, 2021

Following the end of Israel’s latest offensive on Gaza, the occupation has kept crossings with Gaza almost completely closed and basic goods are flowing to the besieged enclave from Egypt.

Prominent Israeli military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote to Ynet News that this is the most important nonmilitary achievement of the Israeli offensive.

He stated that Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar helped Israel to realize this goal which it had sought for a long time.

“With the momentum created thanks to Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s political short-sightedness, Israel might finally be able to free itself from the duty of care for Gaza’s residents,” Fishman wrote.

“For when Sinwar gave the order to fire rockets at Jerusalem on May 10, he failed to predict that this would lead to a fundamental shift in Israeli policy on Gaza.”

Fishman said: “Cairo determinedly avoided any responsibility for Gaza for years, opting instead for the less fraught position of regional mediator.”

However, following the offensive, Israel has been distancing itself from Gaza and Egypt is replacing it. “The more Israel distances itself from the entry of goods and money to rehabilitate the Strip, the more Egypt finds itself – against its will – more deeply involved in its management.”

“Israel is now only transferring goods it deems to be humanitarian aid and fuel at a very limited capacity,” he added, stressing that this is a result of Sinwar’s “miscalculation.”

He revealed that the sporadic indirect talks between Israel and Hamas conducted in Cairo have merely been tricks.

“In talks held in Cairo last week, Israel prioritized the return of two Israeli captives and the bodies of two fallen soldiers held by Hamas as a prerequisite for rehabilitation of Gaza, knowing full well that the terror group would oppose this,” he said, stating that “this was merely a ruse and that Israel has made it clear to Hamas that there are no more deals to be made.”

He warned that if Hamas decided to escalate in response to the Israeli measure, it would be political suicide. “The IDF [Israeli army] is just waiting for the first projectile to fly as a reason to destroy the organization’s remaining arsenals,” he said.

“By the beginning of 2022, Israel will have completed its new reinforced border fence with Gaza. The underground barrier that stops terror tunnels being dug into Israel territory has already been finished,” he added. “The total physical separation of Gaza from Israel is almost complete.”