In Gaza, risky deal between Israel and Hamas

The death of a faction leader confirms the cross-interests between Tel Aviv and the Palestinian movement.

Time to Play 7 min.

Palestinians burn tires to respond to the Israeli offensive against Gaza in Ramallah on November 16. Majdi Mohammed / AP

This is a new case in Gaza: all parties in conflict around the Palestinian enclave agree on the back of a dead person. Commander Baha Abu Al-Ata was briefly, in November 2019, the number one public enemy of Israel in the territories. A band leader rather than an officer, according to the army. A head burn that refused the unofficial truce tied for several months with Hamas, the master of Gaza.

The Israeli airstrike that killed the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a radical group in Gaza, on 12 November, sparked the deadliest firefight since 2018: 34 Palestinian dead. The shooting ended in three days, without Hamas taking part. He has left his ally to fight back alone, and is now working to silence armed militants, his temperance exasperates.

Read also Risk of conflagration in Gaza after the death of a Palestinian commander

The brief existence of Commander Abu Al-Ata, who has passed anonymity at the prime of the "resistance," at 42 years old, casts a vivid light on the behind-the-scenes arrangements between Israel and Hamas, the cynical promises and the retreats that are life of the enclave, or his slow death, under Israeli blockade since 2007.

The eldest of twelve children, Baha Abu Al-Ata was born in Gaza in 1976, from a father then employed in the fishing ports of Israel. The young man plunges into the armed struggle at 13 years old. He joined a religious and nationalist group, Islamic Jihad, financed by Iran since the 1980s, which is distinguished by its radicalism. The movement is one of the first to claim knife attacks against civilians.

Abu Al-Ata ordered a brigade in Gaza City at the age of 30, soon after Hamas mastered it, breaking with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank in 2007. It also supports, in 2016, the most active front of the enclave, in the north. The following year, Israeli intelligence plans its assassination and makes it a priority, according to the daily newspaper Haaretz. The operation is repeatedly submitted to the government, which pushes it, just like the army, to avoid a conflagration of Gaza.

Fighter from the base

Israel has ended its policy of targeted killings since the last war in 2014, and Abu Al-Ata is a grassroots fighter with no intellectual baggage, if not a year spent at Al University. -Qods from Gaza. Contemptor of Palestinian politicians in private, "big mouth" in the internal councils of Islamic Jihad, he is judged "Powerful, emotional and angry. He urged for an answer to every death caused by Israel, but he always obeyed orders ", believes a leader of the movement.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here