A short chronology of recent events in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

Hamas was established by Israel as a counterweight to the authentic grass-roots Palestinian Liberation Organistaion. Israel couldn't control the PLO so they needed a "Palestinian" group that they could...

After the poisoning of Arafat by Israel and amid obvious corruption within Abbas' Palestinian Authority, Palestinians elected Hamas to government in January 2006 on a hard line ticket. Immediately, and at the urging of the Israeli government, Hamas was, and remains, ostracised by the international community, funds are denied, and Israel has even taken the step of blocking food deliveries into Gaza in order to "make the Palestininan a little thinner" according to Israeli political advisor, Dov Weisglass.

Israel demands that Hamas recognise Israel's right to exist. Hamas flip flops, but ultimately refuses. Israel uses this refusal as evidence that it has "no partner for peace in the Palestinians".

Throughout, Israel continues to provoke Palestinian militants by regularly firing highly accurate artillery shells into Gaza and killing civilians. In one two week period, 2,000 Israel rockets were fired at 'targets' within Gaza.

The response from "Islamic Jihad" is to fire pathetically impotent "qassam" rockets at Israel. Almost without fail, these rockets miss their targets and/or fail to explode. Nevertheless, the firing of such wayward chunks of concrete is played up by Israel and in the mainstream press and provides Israel with continued justification to attack the population of Gaza.

Throughout, Hamas has been holding to a 16 month ceasefire with Israel.

In late May, early June 2006, a group of Palestinian prisoners draw up a plan that would recognise Israel's right to exists and seek peace under a two state solution. The plan is endorsed by the PA and Abbas. Hamas is reluctant to accept the plan. Abbas then calls for a referendum, calling on the Palestinian people to vote on whether Palestine should recognise Israel's right to exist.

Hamas rejects the referendum idea saying it is a plot to remove them from power. Violence breaks out between members of Abbas' Fatah movement and members of Hamas.

Israel claims Hamas' refusal to recognise Israel's right to exist as the main impediment to pushing forward progress towards peace and alleviating the suffering and regular murder of Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and Palestinian refugee camps.

A poll suggests that a majority of Palestinians want to recognise Israel's right to exist. While questions have been raised as to the authenticity of the poll, it seems reasonable, given the circumstances, that most ordinary Palestinians realise that a simple declaration of a recognition of Israel's right to exist would deny Israel the plausible justification to continue to claim that they have no "partner for peace" and to continue persecuting the Palestinian people.

On 12 June 2006, an Israel gunboat off the coast of Gaza deliberately fired shells at Palestinian familes enjoying a picnic on the Gaza beach. Ten people from one family were blown to pieces. The Israeli military denied any responsiblity, but subsequent investigation proved that they had lied. That the killing of innocent Palestinians, including five children, was premediated was evidenced by the fact that the Israeli military had a spy plane hovering over the area at the time which provided real-time images of the people on the beach.

In response and according to Israel (the beach attack notwthstanding), Hamas "breaks its 16 month ceasefire" and fires a number of 'qassam' rockets at the Southern Israeli city of Sderot. As on previous occasions, most of the rockets miss their targets and/or fail to explode and there are no Israeli reports of damage. Amazingly however, such is the unreliability of such attacks, at least one of the rockets actually hits a Palestinian refugee camp.

The "breaking of the ceasefire" and the firing of the rockets, however ineffective and indeed damaging to the Palestinian cause, provides Israel with further justifcation to claim that it cannot deal with Hamas and that it will continue to attack sites within Gaza, and, we must assume, continune to murder the innocent people of Gaza.

Abbas continues to push for a referendum on the recognition of Israel's right to exist, and violence between Hamas and Fatah continues. In response to this delicate situation, the Israeli government authorises the Israeli army to send 950 M-16 assault rifles from the Jordan border to the West Bank and Gaza Strip and from there to Abbas' Fatah movement. A clearer vote of encouragement by the Israeli government for civil war in Palestine would be hard to find.

Today, we read that Hamas, Fatah may be "moving closer to deal on implicitly recognizing Israel", yet many such false alarms have graced the pages of the mainstream press in the past. If we are correct in our analysis, Hamas will either back away from such a deal, or more severe fighting between Hamas and Fatah supporters (with the help of Israel's U.S.-made guns) will sink the initiative before it gets started.

Hamas, a creation of Israel, regularly talks of "serving the interests of the Palestinian people", yet appears unable, or unwilling, to understand that its refusal to recognise Israel's right to exist is tantamount to supporting Israel's continued persecution of innocent Palestininans.

Like Iraq, Palestine appears at present to be perched on the precipice of 'civil war'. As we have commented about the Iraq war, it is supassingly strange that, all things being equal, an indigenous group of people, when confronted with a very clear external enemy, would ultimately resort to attacking and killing each other rather than focusing their energies on their enemy. The mystery is to a large extent dispelled when we realise that one of the central tenets of counter-insurgency strategies as perfected by American, British and Israeli intelligence agencies, is to uncover and provoke divisons within the insurgency groups that rise up in response to an invasion or occupation of their country. Other aspects of such covert operations include the infiltration and co-opting of one, or many, of the various groups.

While it is quite clear that Israel has known for a long time that it must continue to create its enemies in order to successfully pursue its racist agenda, we are left wondering just how much of a truly Palestinian organisation Hamas really is, and to what extent it may have been internally co-opted to serve Israel's push towards a final solution for its "Palestinian problem".