Seven Truths About Israel, Hamas and Violence
There are many lies being told about the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. Here are seven things that are true.
No. 1. This most recent outbreak of violence represents the opening round of the third Palestinian intifada. The first intifada, which began in 1987 and petered out in the early 1990s, was an uprising of stones and Molotov cocktails. The second intifada, which began 12 years ago, was an uprising of suicide bombers. The third uprising, inevitably, was going to feature rockets and missiles. I don’t care to think about what sorts of weapons and tactics will feature in the fourth intifada.
No. 2. Hamas’s strategy in this latest conflict makes perfect sense. Hamas, which is the Palestine branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is theologically committed to the obliteration of Israel and believes, as a matter of faith, that Jews are Allah’s enemies. Its leaders have believed, since the group’s inception, that Jews are soft (“We love death and they love life,” a Hamas leader once told me, and it is a commonly expressed thought). Hamas also believes that eventually misery and fear will drive most Jews to leave Israel, which it views as a Muslim waqf, or endowment, not merely the rightful home of the Palestinian people.
This strategy only works because Hamas leaders believe that the deaths of Palestinians aid their cause. As we have seen in this latest iteration of the Arab-Israeli war, every death of a Palestinian civilian is a victory for Hamas and a defeat for Israel. Palestinians in Gaza who dissent from this approach are often punished by Hamas.