Friday, September 5, 2014

Hamas after the war: know your enemy

The latest Gaza-Israel war appears to be over, at least for now. This 2014 war has proven to be costly to Hamas. Much of its leadership has been killed. Most of its political infrastructure in Judea-Samaria has been dismantled. Most of its missiles have either been spent or destroyed. More than a two billion USD-worth of its terror tunnels have been destroyed.

Worst of all, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has just announced that an initial post-war damage assessment has concluded that Gaza suffered 7.8 Billion USD of damages (“Scale of Gaza destruction unprecedented, rehabilitation will cost $7.8 billion, PA says”, Jerusalem Post, September 4, 2014). The PA describes this scale of destruction as having no precedent. Gaza, the PA said, has been hit with a catastrophe (ibid).

Hamas doesn’t care. It’s not interested in a cost-of-war analysis. In Hamas’ war to destroy Israel, cost is irrelevant.

Today, Hamas does not hang its head in shame or defeat. Two days before the current cease-fire began, Hamas showed no sign of flagging (“Battered Hamas more determined than ever to kill Israelis”, Times of Israel, August 24, 2014). As rumours spread that a cease-fire was imminent, Hamas declared war on Jerusalem (“Hamas: Our War is For Liberating Jerusalem, Not Lifting Blockade”, Arutz Sheva, August 26, 2014).

Once the cease-fire was announced, Hamas immediately declared ‘victory’. Two days after the cease-fire, Hamas publicized a ‘poll’ purporting to show how aggressively the Gazan population supported its war against the demon Israel (“89% of Gaza Residents Support Rocket Attacks on Israel”, Arutz Sheva, August 28, 2014).
While Israel Prime Minister spoke to his people of the limits of military power (“Netanyahu and the limits of military power”, Times of Israel, Auguat 28, 2014), the streets of Gaza filled with joyous Gazans celebrating ‘victory’ over Israel (“Gaza residents celebrate Hamas 'victory' over Israel”, AhlulBayt ABNA) News Agency, August 27, 2014).

Listening first to Netanyahu and then to Hamas leaders, you’d be hard-pressed to conclude that Gaza had just been devastated. While Netanyahu explained in a somewhat professorial manner that “fighting terrorists is highly complex… Israel utilized its relative advantages wisely… Israel’s intelligence gathering proved capable”  (Times of Israel, above), Hamas leaders were far less ‘academic’ about what had just happened. They wasted little time discussing complexity, wisdom or capabilities.  They simply repeated one message. They had defeated Israel.

That was much clearer than Netanyahu (above).

Hamas, its leadership declared, had changed the rules of the game. They had paralyzed life in Israel (“News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (August 26 - September 2, 2014”, Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, September 2, 2014).

They promised that this was not the final act of ‘resistance’. It was only one more stage in the goal of liberating Jerusalem and Palestine.

They promised that they would not agree to demilitarize the Gaza strip. They would not stop fighting.

Ismail Haniya, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, emphasized in his first public appearance that Hamas had taught Israel a lesson. He called this war an unprecedented war in Israel’s history, one that gave Hamas a victory that was twice as great as the victory in the previous campaign (Operation Pillar of Defense, 2012) (ibid).

Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, gave a speech in Shejaiya stressing the victory of the “resistance” against Israel. He praised the abilities and successes of the military wing in striking deep inside Israel, causing tens of thousands of residents of the south to leave their homes and putting six million residents into shelters (ibid).

Moussa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, said that the “resistance” won the battle. According to him, Israel’s prime minister has not gained anything from the conditions imposed by Israel in the cease-fire agreement, especially with regard to limiting the development of weapons and Hamas’s military capabilities. Israel, he said, had failed to destroy the tunnels or achieve surrender (ibid).

Why are these speeches important to you? They tell you something you must always remember. Hamas leaders are not bureaucrats or school teachers. These are not arm-chair warriors. They are ruthless killers. They will sacrifice their own children to destroy us. They are implacable.

These people want victory. Unprecedented devastation in their own neighbourhoods doesn’t mean a thing to them. They focus only on victory—and they will ‘fake it until they make it’.

Know your enemy. If you want to win this war you must be more implacable than he. You must be more committed than he.

The question is, do you have that commitment?  Are you willing to fight such an enemy?

If you want to survive, know your enemy. He will teach you what you must do to win.



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