The exiled leader of Hamas told reporters in Damascus that President Bush’s recent visit to Israel was designed to encourage the Israelis to accelerate their attacks on Gaza and Hamas forces. In recent attacks, the son of a senior Hamas leader was killed. “This crime,” said Khaled Mashaai, “is the ugly fruit of Bush’s visit to the region. He has incited the Zionists and has exerted pressure on the Palestinian side to become more hardline against Palestinian dialogue.” He predicted retaliation for the Gaza attacks and emphasized, “we will not offer more concessions because of these crimes.” It is estimated at least fifty Palestinians were wounded in the recent Israel excursion into Gaza.
Presdient Abbas condemned what he termed “the barbaric Israel massacre in Gaza” and raised questions as to whether or not he could continue the peace process. Some Hamas leaders are now accusing Abbas of being an ally of Israel in the attacks on the people of Gaza. Abbas is not in the most powerful positions of authority. Continued Israel actions which result in deaths of Palestinians increase the pressure on him to back away from peace negotiations. Is it time for Israel to reconsider its policy of attack, attack, and retaliation?