Sunday Mar 18, 201207:27 PM GMT
‘Israel underestimated Palestinian response to Gaza attacks’
Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:6PM
Interview with Mkhalmar Abusada, al-Azhar University professor
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It seems to me that was the main issue here in the Palestinian territories but let me say that I believe Israel underestimated Palestinian response. Israel probably thought that they could go assassinate the leader of PRC without revenge from the Palestinian side. I also believe that Israel and the Israeli authorities underestimated the retaliation of the Islamic Jihad who retaliated mainly against the assassination of the PRC leaders and also against the bombing of the Gaza strip.”

Israel has underestimated Palestinians, thinking that they could assassinate the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) without retaliation from the Palestinian side, an analyst tells Press TV.


The comments come as at least 26 Palestinians have been killed and dozens of others injured in the 4-day Israeli attacks on the coastal sliver of Gaza since March 9.

Press TV has conducted an interview with al-Azhar University professor Mkhalmar Abusada from Gaza to further discuss the issue.

The following is a transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Professor Mkhalmar Abusada, the fact that you see these ongoing attacks which also killed one member of Hamas who was just recently released through prisoner swap between Israel and Palestine; do you think that Israel wants to assassinate or try to kill in these attacks those people who were released or is it an attempt to try, like [another speaker on the show] Mr. Noman said, try to test Hamas’s reaction?

Abusada: Well, the Israeli attack on the Gaza strip which started on Monday evening by the assassination of the leader of popular resistance committees which is a resistance group in the Gaza strip and the aftermath of that attack on the Gaza strip and Palestinian retaliation.

It seems to me that was the main issue here in the Palestinian territories but let me say that I believe Israel underestimated Palestinian response. Israel probably thought that they could go assassinate the leader of PRC without revenge from the Palestinian side.

I also believe that Israel and the Israeli authorities underestimated the retaliation of the Islamic Jihad who retaliated mainly against the assassination of the PRC leaders and also against the bombing of the Gaza strip.

For about four days the Palestinian resistance groups here in Gaza launched more than 250 missiles on Israeli towns and villages and also Israel killed more than 26 Palestinians and injured more than 50 others.

It seems to me that the Israeli goal out of this escalation was probably to test the military capabilities of the Palestinian resistance and also probably to test the Egyptians and their political behavior after the revolution.

But overall I don’t think that Israel thought that this eruption of violence would escalate the way it had happened over the past 5 days.

Press TV: How do you think the Egyptian reaction was since Mr. Noman is saying that Israel wants to test the Egyptian reaction especially since the Muslim Brotherhood are coming to power it seems in Egypt it could be more pro-Hamas. Was there some kind of a surprise from the people in Gaza in how Egypt reacted?

Abusada: Well, let me start by saying that I don’t really think that Israel was trying to test the behavior of Egypt with regard to this eruption of violence because as I stated earlier Israel thought that they can go and assassinate the leader of PRC without Palestinian response but things got out of control and violence erupted for about 5 days.

Now with regard to the Egyptian response to what was happening we have to bear in mind that the government in Egypt is still a secular government, a government that was formed before the Egyptian parliamentary election which took place in November.

So basically there hasn’t been any change with regard to how the Egyptian government views any eruption of violence between the Palestinians and Israelis but what was fascinating and was interesting is the reaction of the Egyptian parliament which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist groups in Egypt.

As a result of the eruption of violence as a result of the Israeli assassination and Israeli bombardment of the Gaza strip the Egyptian parliament asked for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Cairo and recalling the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv and also amend the Camp David agreement which was signed between Egypt and Israel in 1979 and also amend the commercial deal between Egypt and Israel.

I believe that the Egyptians are no longer tolerating any Israeli provocation, any Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and the Egyptians are more concerned about taking control of their own destiny, of their own sovereignty and regaining their pride which they lost over the past 30 years since Mubarak came to office.


Press TV:Mr. Abusada, how do you think the Arab leaders should react in your opinion to what’s happened in Gaza?

Abusada: Well, let me say that the Palestine issue is not solely a Palestinian issue. This is an Arab issue and it has been this way since the establishment of Israel in 1948 And the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their own land and also the occupation of Palestine back in 1967.

We the Palestinians consider our cause as part of the Arab nation and the Palestinians definitely will not be able to regain their political rights and defeat Israel on their own. Therefore we believe that without our Arab support and Islamic support we will not be able to put an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

Therefore definitely the Palestinians are in bad need for Arab support, from Arab governments and the Arab people. It was very clear that before the Arab spring most of the Arab governments were basically paying just only a lip service to the Palestine issue through their submit every year by supporting the Palestinians politically and morally.

But when it comes to the test nothing has been done in terms of stopping Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. If I go back three years ago when Israel launched its Cast Lead operation against the Gaza strip for 22 days killed more than 15,000 Palestinians and injured more than 20,000 others with devastation in infrastructure and civilian buildings.

The Arab countries were not able to put an end or to stop Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.

Press TV:Mr. Abusada, do you think that the Arabs should any time call for perhaps military aid to the Palestinians as they are doing with the armed groups inside Syria?

Abusada: I don’t think that the Arab government will be able to support the Palestinians militarily. We all know that the balance of power is in the interest of the Israelis and their backers, the US administration and Western countries.

And the Arabs definitely are not interested in any war with Israel but at least the Arab governments can, I mean instead of supporting the Palestinians militarily which could inflict some negative impacts on their contacts with the United States and Western countries, they at least can utilize their economic or political will on the US to try to influence US foreign policy and Western foreign policy towards the Palestine/Israeli conflict.

It seems to me that the Arabs are capable of doing that; especially the Arab [Persian] Gulf countries who control 50 percent of the oil reserves in the world. They can use and utilize their economic well-being to influence US and Western foreign policy towards the Palestine/Israeli conflict.

VG/JR
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