Noted Israeli diplomat and politician Abba Eban famously said “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” The Palestinians have twice passed on getting 80% to 90% of what they said they wanted in negotiations. The simple reasons for those rejections are that Israel would continue to exist and Palestine would have to begin to stand on its own.
So while tempted to be confused by what Hamas hopes to achieve, it’s actually not that confusing but Hamas has a problem; standard PR tactics might not work this time around. In light of prior dustups the Arab World has been relatively silent, as have the European elites. Israel is getting hip on the PR front. They have proof that the typical arguments against Israeli military interventions can be, if not silenced, mitigated with video proof of Israeli restraint as well as proof of Hamas intentions; the latest cease fire being evidence enough of how things go.
Hamas specifically and Palestinians in general have traded, globally, on the inherent victimhood of a people that did not exist until created as an entity in 1964. Engaging Israel is the quickest way to address any degree of lagging interest in the “Palestinian Question.” The Arab World has long been committed to fighting Israel; right down to the last Palestinian, but no farther!
Militarily we all know, including Hamas, that Israel, by necessity, maintains superior capabilities. Direct military engagement by Hamas is intended to create photos, social media pleas, screaming mothers, dead children and the opportunity for raising funds to “rebuild”. “Rebuild” never happens as Gaza remains in a perpetual state of self-imposed dependency and corruption. What does happen is globally supported welfare for an entire political entity that in most cases rejects the belief system of its benefactors.
Hamas needs photo opportunities and fodder for propaganda. Israel knows that those photos and videos have been an Achilles heel combined with media editing. Israel is being both careful and aggressive. They don’t have a choice! Now, Israel accumulates video evidence, released ahead of Hamas; beating them to the punch; missions aborted due to the likelihood of collateral damage is compared to the cut and paste, by Hamas, of a frame from a horror movie to illustrate casualties. Casualties that don’t exist or were not perpetuated by Israel has been a consistent Hamas tactic over the years.
The Middle East, in general believes Hamas should have backed off or not have pushed Israel to the breaking point to begin with. Iran, however, probably welcomes the idea that an Israeli invasion is dominating attention instead of the fact that the “deal” regarding the Iranian nuclear program runs out in a couple of days and there is no deal. Yup, right down to the last Palestinian!
A prior post warned that the Israeli’s may have hit they’re redline with Hamas and that a history of tit for tat engagements changed nothing. It appears as if that is exactly the case as Israel’s policy line of late has been; “we’ll do what we have to do to finish the job.” A ground operation in one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world is fraught with danger and the potential for horrific consequences. So too is Hamas with missiles capable of hitting population centers.
Israel has had enough; Hamas has done enough to deserve what is coming.