Ri­vals pon­der moves af­ter Gaza vi­o­lence

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - WORLD - By Mo­hammed Daragh­meh Mo­hammed Daragh­meh is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

RA­MAL­LAH, West Bank — The af­ter­shocks of the U.S. Em­bassy move to Jerusalem and blood­shed on the Gaza border are shak­ing up the re­gion, in­clud­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas and his for­mer ne­go­ti­at­ing part­ners, Is­rael and the U.S.

Seething over a per­ceived U.S. be­trayal on Jerusalem, Ab­bas is pre­par­ing to pur­sue a war crimes com­plaint against Is­rael at the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court that would sharply es­ca­late ten­sions with Is­rael.

Ab­bas isn’t yet end­ing se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion, avoid­ing the move most likely to trig­ger a cri­sis with Is­rael and pos­si­bly the col­lapse of his West Bank-based au­ton­omy gov­ern­ment.

Ab­bas also re­called the Pales­tinian am­bas­sador from Wash­ing­ton this week, ce­ment­ing an ear­lier de­ci­sion to halt con­tacts with the ad­min­is­tra­tion and cast­ing grow­ing doubt on Trump’s am­bi­tions to bro­ker an Is­raeliPales­tinian peace deal.

Mean­while, his do­mes­tic Ha­mas ri­vals in Gaza have emerged with­out tan­gi­ble achieve­ments from weekly border protests in which more than 100 Pales­tini­ans were killed and hun­dreds wounded by Is­raeli fire since late March.

There’s no sign of a sig­nif­i­cant eas­ing of the block­ade, which was im­posed by Is­rael and Egypt af­ter the 2007 Ha­mas takeover of Gaza. Egypt of­fered only a vague prom­ise to open its pas­sen­ger cross­ing with Gaza, the ter­ri­tory’s main gate to the world, when pos­si­ble.

In Is­rael, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu has been rid­ing a string of suc­cesses, push­ing a se­ries of em­bar­rass­ing cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tions off the pub­lic agenda and lift­ing his ap­proval rat­ings.

The U.S. with­drawal from the Iran nu­clear deal and the em­bassy move are both seen as achieve­ments for Is­rael.

But Ne­tanyahu’s for­tunes on the in­ter­na­tional stage could be chang­ing. On the day of the em­bassy move, Is­raeli forces killed 59 Pales­tini­ans and wounded hun­dreds in Gaza, draw­ing wide­spread in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion, ac­cu­sa­tions of us­ing dis­pro­por­tion­ate force and calls for in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Is­rael lost the gains it had made in re­pair­ing ties with Turkey, which ex­pelled Is­rael’s en­voy, prompt­ing Is­rael to re­spond in kind.

Ne­tanyahu is also tak­ing a risk by align­ing him­self so closely to Trump, who is un­pop­u­lar with other Western al­lies and the over­whelm­ingly lib­eral Jewish Amer­i­can com­mu­nity.

Adel Hana / As­so­ci­ated Press

Pales­tinian pro­test­ers burned tires last week at the Gaza Strip’s border with Is­rael, east of Khan You­nis.

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