Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hamas Should Stop...But Probably Won't

Mark Thompson responds and expands on this.

I had stated that "in the case of Hamas, while I would not presume to know their every intent, I would say that the continued firing of rockets into Israel, instead of meeting Israel's soldiers in combat alone, shows that they are not soldiers, but terrorists, intent upon provoking this sort of reaction from Israel."

Mark goes on to explain the intent in terms of perception of victory over Israel. In sum:
The fact is that Hamas is fully aware it is severely outgunned by Israel both in terms of manpower and in terms of weaponry. Thus, it has no possibility, ultimately, of winning a military victory over Israel - a fact of which they are most certainly aware. However, it can nonetheless legitimately declare victory if the Israelis are unable to achieve that which they nominally set out to achieve - which is in large part the cessation of the rocket attacks. So as long as Israel is unable, by sheer force, to put an end to the rocket attacks, Hamas will appear the victor to its constituents, as well as to its supporters in the rest of the Middle East and South Asia. Meanwhile, the continued rocket attacks don't have too much of an effect on international opinion because they are rather ineffective at actually killing people - this guarantees that the casualty figures for Israeli civilians will continue to dwarf the casualty figures for Palestinian civilians.
I honestly have very little to add. It's a spot-on analysis of the situation, and I really am still left wondering why Israel took the bait. Do they honestly think they will be able to end the rocket attacks? Do you think they have the resolve or political will to carry this mission out to the end?

I'm the consummate skeptic on this matter. Israeli resolve is almost an oxymoron.

For more on the subject of Palestinian intent, read the rest of Mark's post, and then head over to Chris Dierkes's latest at Culture11. A gloomy sample:
Even were Israel to break Gaza's government, Hamas will continue to have its social agencies, its shadow government of loyalty on the street, and its paramilitary. Any alternate government (a reinstalled Fatah?) imposed in the aftermath of an Israeli invasion will lack legitimacy. How could it not? A Hamas ejected from power might actually become more powerful, gaining greater standing in the eyes of the populace. No matter the end result — short of complete annihilation — Hamas will declare victory. If even one Hamas member remains left standing as the Israelis pull out, the banner of victorious resistance will be raised and new recruits will flock to the movement.
I'm not entirely in agreement, but only because I'm not entirely sure about anything in this current conflict. As I'm wont to say, "The more I know, the less I know" and so I keep trying to dig up as much information on the matter as I can.

The more I know, the less I know...