The simple question is why did Hamas commit its 2million Gaza citizens to the consequences of such a bestial terror attack on Israel on October 7 2023 and thus assassinate itself ? The Washington Post reports that it was an accident. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the attack co-ordinators, were astonished by the unexpected success of securing so many Israeli hostages on the very first day. But then the attack broke down into a brutal, chaotic rampage all taken on GoPro video cameras. And in ironic proof of swift wartime reversals, those videos have been collected into an IDF Horror Show used to convince World journalists, politicians and influencers that the Palestinians hardly qualify as a stable 2-state partner. Or more broadly, as an IDF intelligence officer noted,“but just as Hamas removed all red lines in targeting civilians, so too will Israel retaliate,with a war for which we don’t yet have the words to describe.”
Gaza politics is complex because since 2006 there are four arab groups in Gaza vying for control of the 41km strip, in perplexing and quixotic fashion. Perplexing because before Oct 7th, 19,000 Gazans/day streamed into Israel on work permits earning $600+ million annually in precious personal revenues roughly 10 times Gaza wages – now gone. Quixotic because Gazans are once again at the mercy of Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who had granted secret favors to Hamas to curb any Hamas and PLO reconciliation[Read the internecine conflicts between Hamas and PLO-Fatah here].But now Netanyahu has stunning proof that both Hamas and West Bank PLO are not worthy of two state status. In effect the Hamas rampage provided cover to Netanyahu’s and his ultra-right cabinet to expand illegal Israeli settlements further advancing WestBank annexation.
But now Gazans have to deal with what the brutality of the Hamas attack allows Netanyahu to do – declaring his determination to exterminate all of Hamas in an unbridled war for the 5th time. This allows the IDF air strikes anywhere in Gaza where there is any suspicion of Hamas hideouts or tunnel complexes or military structures and supplies. Also, since 1 million Gazans were warned to get out of the North, any civilian causalities incurred now are excusable. But in a touch of treachery Israeli air strikes are now heavy in South Gaza. But 704 deaths on October 24 , a number supplied by Hamas Health authorities, has been labeled as propaganda misinformation campaign by NYTimes’ David French However, Human Rights Watch and UN’s OCHA agency cited Hamas Heath agency as being a reliable data source.
So a matter of unconcern for Joe Biden is a BCG-like clever strategy in which IDF can pulverize and make uninhabitable large swaths of Gaza. NYTimes documents this approach – how just about any Palestinian street, house, mosque and structure can be deemed a hostile target. The resulting destruction is squeezing Gaza to a much smaller livable area and diminishing population.This achieves two ends: 1)a much smaller area and population to police and 2)foists a large Gazan refugee out-migration onto Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon which already have refugee problems.
So Why Did Hamas Choose such a Risky “No-Win” strategy
Al Jazeera, American Prospect, Foreign Affairs, Times of Israel – all have circled around some common factors. First, Netanyahu’s far-right activists were becoming more belligerent in East Jerusalem and around the AlAqsah Mosque. The WestBank PLO government appeared to be doing nothing about the situation. Worse still, there are more open attacks and killings of Palestinians near WestBank settlements. The result is an alarming rise in WestBank Palestinian deaths as mapped out by the NYTimes:
While the PLO in the WestBank was wavering, Hamas took a dual-aim opportunity – defend East Jerusalem and draw Israeli armed forces away from Gazin anticipation of their attacka. Also, AlJazeera reported that “Hamas leadership felt compelled to act due to the acceleration of Arab-Israeli normalization. This process further diminished the significance of the Palestinian issue for Arab leaders who became less keen on pressuring Israel on this matter. If a Saudi-Israeli normalization deal had been concluded, it would have been a turning point in the Arab-Israeli conflict, which may have eliminated the already weak chances of a two-state solution”.
Once again, the Balfour Declaration and subsequent partition of Palestine rears up in conflict negotiations.The issues are 110 years old but still cutting as Jewish Zionist negotiators but not Palestinians had access to key British and European decision makers throughout a 30 year period [1917 to 1947] resulting in a UN 1947 partition that gave Israelis 56% of Palestinian territory despite having less than 50% of Palestine’s population, smaller net land holdings and economic impact.
A similar unexpected spillover did occur in the Oslo Accords which appeared to have Israel and Palestine reaching fundamental accommodations when battle hardened Premier Yitzahk Rabin moved to embrace a realistic two state plan in 1993. However, within months Rabin was gunned down by a member of an ultra-right Israeli radical group which had Benjamin Netanyahu’s tacit approval as he moved stealthy towards annexation of the West Bank.
Even the current Hamas – Israel War has had an unexpected spillover effect as the early overwhelmong success in securing hostages devolves into brutal assaults on Israeli civilians. This is all recorded on GOPro and other Hamas video cameras. So initial hostage taking success has been supplanted by Israeli compiled videos showing the utter atrocities and brutality of some of the Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians. Did Hamas Military Commander Mohammed Deif sanction and surrender this propaganda advantage to the IDF commanders and Premier Netanyahu’ Zionist ambitions deliberately?
So the Hamas – Israeli War teeters on the edge of a broader Mid Eastern conflict with Israel, USA, Britain, France, Iran,Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Turkey, Russia, Iraq awaiting the next s slip-of-the-trigger as a stunning pillover surprise.