Monday, September 22, 2014

At least some Gazans feel the cost-benefit analysis favors keeping far away from terrorists

...First, increasing the odds of being arrested or killed would increase the costs of terrorism. But perhaps even more importantly, it would reduce the benefits, because other Palestinians wouldn’t want to associate with people who were liable to be raided by IDF troops or hit with an airstrike at any moment. Thus instead of being lionized, terrorists would find themselves ostracized – which isn’t a price most people would be willing to pay. And indeed, West Bank terrorists who subsequently abandoned terror routinely cited social ostracism as the reason for their decision.

Evelyn Gordon..
JPost..
15 September '14..
H/T Sally Zahav..

Like many Israelis, I’ve been skeptical that this summer’s war in Gaza achieved anything more than a temporary calm. So I was encouraged to read the following tweet from Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh Saturday night: “Gaza landlords refusing to rent out apartments to Hamas members and their families out of fear of being targeted by Israel in future.” His subsequent news story revealed that tenants are equally unenthusiastic about having Hamas neighbors.

This development doesn’t yet constitute victory. But judging from Israel’s experience in the West Bank, it’s an important step in the right direction.

To understand why, it’s worth recalling the early days of the second intifada, when an argument raged between the IDF and the Shin Bet security service over how to handle it. Many senior IDF officers then – like many today – insisted there was no military solution, because fighting terror was like trying to empty the sea with a spoon: No matter how many terrorists you arrest or kill, there’s a limitless supply of new recruits to replace them.

But then-Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter thought otherwise. While recognizing that the potential supply of new recruits is indeed vast, he argued that the actual supply could be dried up by making terror a business that doesn’t pay.

Any rational cost-benefit analysis would have concluded that during the intifada’s first 18 months, terror paid handsomely. The odds of being killed or arrested were low, and the rewards were high: Not only did terrorist organizations pay relatively well at a time when the hostilities had destroyed many other jobs and businesses, but terrorists were lionized as heroes throughout Palestinian society.

What Dichter understood, however, was that Israel could alter this cost-benefit analysis by arresting or killing enough terrorists. First, increasing the odds of being arrested or killed would increase the costs of terrorism. But perhaps even more importantly, it would reduce the benefits, because other Palestinians wouldn’t want to associate with people who were liable to be raided by IDF troops or hit with an airstrike at any moment. Thus instead of being lionized, terrorists would find themselves ostracized – which isn’t a price most people would be willing to pay.

And indeed, West Bank terrorists who subsequently abandoned terror routinely cited social ostracism as the reason for their decision. When they went into coffeehouses, they complained, everyone else fled, and the owners would kick them out, fearful their presence would bring the IDF. Taxi drivers wouldn’t pick them up. Barbershops wouldn’t cut their hair. And worst of all, they couldn’t get married. One former terrorist, for instance, said his fiancée's family conditioned their marriage on him abandoning terror and obtaining an amnesty from Israel. Another girl’s father said he would never let his daughter marry a terrorist, because “I want her to have a good life, without having the army coming into her house all the time to arrest her while her husband escapes into the streets.”

Sunday, September 21, 2014

(Video) True joy is relative. Palestinian mother celebrates her son's death

...PA TV has broadcast many Palestinian mothers who have expressed joy over the deaths of their children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because it grants the deceased the exalted Shahada status - Martyrdom-death for Allah, which bestows many rewards on the "Martyr" and his family.



Itamar Marcus/Nan Jacques Zilberdik..
Palestinian Media Watch..
21 September '14..






During a riot in Jerusalem, a 16-year-old Arab named Muhammad Sunuqrut was killed. At his funeral, his mother told PA TV:

"This is the first time I see joy in my heart. This is the first time I see such joy. Thank Allah for giving him Martyrdom (Shahada)."[Official PA TV, Sept. 12, 2014]

PA TV has broadcast many Palestinian mothers who have expressed joy over the deaths of their children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because it grants the deceased the exalted Shahada status - Martyrdom-death for Allah, which bestows many rewards on the "Martyr" and his family.

Mother of Sbarro pizza shop suicide bomber, Izz Al-Din Al-Masri: "I congratulate him: Congratulations, my son, on your Martyrdom, praise Allah..."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), April 30, 2014]

Mother of suicide bomber Shadi Hamamreh: "Praise Allah, this is the greatest joy, Praise Allah that he is a Martyr."
[Official PA TV, Jan. 25, 2014]

Mother of suicide bomber Darin Abu Aisheh: "I want to sing, Darin is a bride."
[Official PA TV, Aug. 3, 2011]

When Ex-Haaretz Readers Walk Out of Publisher's Event

...As members of the agitated audience left the room, those remaining heckled Schocken who admonished: "You were Haaretz subscribers, you can be ‘Haaretz unsubscribers’ but we can still talk like civilized people." The diminished crowd grew increasingly hostile as the publisher argued that Levy was had been proven right when he wrote a similar article in the past. Finally, Schocken gave up on the possibility of convincing many to renew their subscriptions, and the former Haaretz readers left the room.


A column by Gideon
Levy's during the
war led to a mass
cancellation
Gidon Shaviv..
CAMERA Snapshots..
21 September '14..

Last Friday (Sept. 12), Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken hosted an unusual meeting with more than 100 Israelis out of a reported total of 600 subscribers who recently cancelled their subscription to the daily paper. The mass cancellation was widely regarded by the Israeli media as a response to a July opinion piece by Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy attacking the morality of Israeli pilots participating in Operation Protective Edge:

I would like to meet the pilot or the operator of the drone who pushed the death button. How do you sleep at night, pilot? Did you see the pictures of the death and destruction you sowed – on television, and not just in the crosshairs? Did you see the crushed bodies, the bleeding wounded, the frightened children, the horrified women and the terrible destruction you sowed from your sophisticated plane? It’s all your doing, you excellent young man.

The Seventh Eye, an Israeli media watchdog, published a detailed account of the meeting, which ended in a mass walkout by the audience.

Things started smoothly enough, with the crowd granting a warm reception to both Schocken and Haaretz Editor Aluf Benn as the two described the paper's liberal policy. Benn reassured: "We are not the United Nations, we are Israelis, we live within Israeli society, and as such we covered the events that happened to the Israeli side."

Things quickly unraveled, however, once the floor was opened to questions from the audience. The Seventh Eye reported:

Zuzovsky says he was a Haaretz subscriber for a total of 60 years, and had canceled his subscription twice – both times because of Gideon Levy. His wife, Zuzovsky said, was the widow of an Air Force pilot, and he cannot bring home a newspaper comparing her grandchildren's grandfather to murderers.

The "Seventh Eye" describes how the atmosphere in the meeting slowly devolved from a high cultured social tête-à-tête to a no holds barred tit-for-tat:

The exchanges with the publisher shattered any sense of hierarchy in the room. “No one canceled his subscription because of Nehemia Strassler,” [a Haaretz economics writer] shouted someone in the hall. “Yes!” screamed other members of the audience [in agreement]. “There were those,” says Schocken. “There were not! None!” one shouted back.” “Let's try to keep the order," pleaded Schocken.

Yolande Knell’s context-free Gaza borders campaign continues on BBC Radio 4’s PM

...Knell fails to join the dots and clarify to listeners that there is no chance of success for any “political solution” to the Gaza Strip’s “underlying problems” which does not include adherence to the PA’s existing agreements with Israel – i.e. the disarming of all terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip. Neither is she apparently concerned by the fact that her own role in the BBC’s repeated advocacy for Hamas’ political campaign to lift border restrictions is likely to contribute to the current calm in the Gaza Strip being very short-lived.


Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
21 September '14..

Since July a prevalent theme in BBC reporting on the recent conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip has been the context-free amplification of Hamas’ demands to lift border restrictions imposed by Egypt and Israel in response to the activities of that terror organisation and others.

Initially, Hamas declared that the lifting of border restrictions was a precondition to any negotiations on a ceasefire and the BBC provided plenty of publicity for that obviously unrealistic demand – see examples here, here, here and here. Notably, the BBC also adopted Hamas terminology as part of its amplification of the terror group’s demands and began to inaccurately describe very specific restrictions on the entry of dual-use goods into the Gaza Strip as a “siege”.

Later, Hamas found itself obliged to climb down from that particular tree and demands for the lifting of border restrictions joined others, such as the construction of a seaport and an airport, as part of what Hamas promoted as its conditions for a long-term ceasefire. Those demands were also given ample promotion by BBC correspondents – see examples here, here, here, here, here and here.

Even before the August 26th ceasefire agreement was reached the BBC’s focus turned to promoting the topic of the lifting of border restrictions via the subject matter of reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. With BBC representation in the area having returned to pre-conflict staffing levels, most of that particular advocacy campaign has been carried out by the Jerusalem Bureau’s Yolande Knell who has in recent weeks produced several ‘reporter in the rubble’ items all designed to impress upon BBC audiences that those same border restrictions must be lifted in order to facilitate the reconstruction of houses destroyed or damaged during the conflict. Examples can be seen here, here and here. PM 18 9

(Continue)

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Considering the why of the Palestinian Arabs lacking civil rights

...The right to freely assemble, for example is limited when the assembly is a riot in which Palestinians and supporters try to destroy the security barrier and throw rocks and firebombs at police and soldiers. Freedom of movement is limited in order to prevent terrorists from killing Jewish Israelis; and plenty of them have been stopped by the barriers that are so strongly criticized. It is certainly true that these measures are inconvenient, unfair and oppressive to Palestinians who are not terrorists. The alternative, however, isn’t to dismantle them in the name of civil rights and hope for the best. That’s suicide.


Palestinian Arabs will get full civil rights
when they get this kind of leadership
Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
18 September '14..
Link: http://abuyehuda.com/2014/09/why-the-palestinian-arabs-lack-civil-rights/

Israel’s Left is unhappy. Nobody votes for their parties and their chance of returning to power is negligible. You can see them boiling with frustration — they used to run things here, and now they are a permanent opposition, reduced to increasingly hysterical announcements that “time is running out” on a peaceful solution with the Palestinian Arabs.

Outside of Israel they are still taken seriously, primarily because of their well-funded — by the Europeans and left-wing American sources — English-language propaganda organs and NGOs. It doesn’t seem to occur to those Israeli progressives who still think that there is room in the world for a Jewish state that they may be compromising their Zionism by accepting the largesse of people who oppose Jewish self-determination.

Some are giving up, making plans to emigrate, to rejoin the Diaspora that their parents and grandparents suffered immensely to escape. Others think that their fundamental conception — that Israeli Jews have it in their power to bring about peace and reconciliation with the Arabs by being more forthcoming, more prepared to sacrifice — is correct, and it only needs to be sold more effectively. None of them seem to think that this premise is simply wrong.

So journalist Noam Sheizaf writes in the European and American-Left funded +972 Magazine that “the problem of the occupation” needs to be solved in a new way, because they will not get Israelis to agree to commit suicide by agreeing to a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. Forget “two states,” he says, and concentrate on a “civil rights struggle” for Palestinians.

This is a stroke of unmitigated PR genius. If anything will play to the hearts and open up the coffers of well-meaning Europeans and Americans, it is ‘civil rights’. It immediately makes the comparison to the African-American movement of the 1960s and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. It immediately pushes aside the question of Israel’s security, for which there is no analogy in these other civil rights campaigns.

The analogy breaks down in several essential ways. The US and South Africa were not surrounded by hostile states allied with their black residents. The American civil-rights movement was not dominated by groups whose charters called for the violent expulsion or killing of whites, and which had already killed thousands in terrorist attacks. South Africa really was an apartheid state, characterized by explicit institutionalized racism.

What does he think count as civil rights issues?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Getting the 'State Land' Story Right - USA Today 1, The Guardian 0

...As USA Today tells readers, “the Gush Etzion bloc’s core communities [in the West bank] were founded before Israel’s establishment in 1948 on land purchased by Jews in the 1920s and 1930s. “Arab soldiers destroyed the communities when they fought against Israel's founding during the 1948 war”

Eric Rozenman..
CAMERA Snapshots..
18 September '14..

News media often refer erroneously to the West Bank as “Palestinian land” or “Palestinian territory” and Israeli acquisition or development there often get reported as “land grabs.” For example:

Referring to Israel’s decision to declare almost 1,000 acres adjacent to the West Bank community of Gva’ot as state land, The Guardian (U.K.) wrote, “Israel has published tenders to build 283 homes in a West Bank settlement, days after announcing its biggest land grab on occupied Palestinian territory [emphases added] for three decades.” (“Israel to build 283 homes in West Bank”, Sept. 5, 2014)

USA Today, by contrast, eschewed hyperbole for context. Special Correspondent Michele Chabin reported of Gva’ot and the newly-designated state land that “this community of 17 Israeli families, apartments for disabled adults, a school for disabled children, several horses and a petting zoo is accustomed to solitude. So [Rachel] Pomerantz, who rents a small prefab home here, was surprised by the sudden international attention on the settlement since … the Israeli government announced it would designate a swath of land next to Gva'ot as state-owned property.”

Gva’ot is close to the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice line and the adjacent 988 acres at the center of the media-diplomatic dust-up lie between it and the Gush Etzion settlement bloc just south of Jerusalem. As USA Today tells readers, “the Gush Etzion bloc’s core communities [in the West bank] were founded before Israel’s establishment in 1948 on land purchased by Jews in the 1920s and 1930s.

“Arab soldiers destroyed the communities when they fought against Israel's founding during the 1948 war” (“Quiet strip of land, a loud dispute”, USA Today, Sept. 5, 2014)

A symbol of the responsibility each one of us carries to make Israeli society better

...The cease-fire that took effect at the end of August led the way back to welcome routine. Tens of thousands of reservists returned home and the residents of the south also came back to their kibbutzim, their moshavim, and their towns. At the same time, Israelis started to take down their flags, fold them, and put them away. But why?

Itai Zilber..
Israel Hayom..
17 September '14..

The days of Operation Protective Edge brought out a sense of patriotism in most of us, and it seemed to be everywhere. Many citizens hung the flags they usually keep stored away for Independence Day from their balconies so that passersby would know that the people inside were "proud Israelis."

Local authorities hung the national flag along their communities' main streets and businesses added blue Stars of David to their ads to leave no doubt about their patriotism. Flags even poked out of cars, reminding us all that we are proud Israelis, even when we're stuck in traffic jams on the road to Jerusalem in the summer heat.

An Israeli flag waving in the wind was the symbol of an impressive -- some would say unusual -- rally in which one group of citizens showed solidarity with another. There is no Israeli who didn't encounter a project to collect underwear or socks for the soldiers at the front. Tons of supplies were loaded onto trucks and sent south. It seemed that even the soldiers didn't believe their eyes when they saw how much equipment had been donated.

But the solidarity wasn't just with the soldiers, it was with civilian society. Bed and breakfasts in northern Israel provided free accommodation to southerners looking for a break. Residents opened their homes to passersby looking for shelter during a siren, summer camps throughout the country held activities for kids from the besieged south so they could enjoy a bit of summer vacation, and residents of all parts of the nation chose to do their weekend shopping in stores in southern Israel to do their part to help the financial hardship.

And there were a few moments, little ones, that actually encompassed all that is "Israeli" -- tens of thousands of Israelis attended the funerals of two lone soldiers who fell in battle. News broadcasts showed the pictures from the cemeteries and deep inside, we all knew that this was Israeli-ness at its best.

The cease-fire that took effect at the end of August led the way back to welcome routine. Tens of thousands of reservists returned home and the residents of the south also came back to their kibbutzim, their moshavim, and their towns. At the same time, Israelis started to take down their flags, fold them, and put them away.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Not Really a Journalist, But a Real Riot

Yisrael Medad..
My Right Way..
18 September '14..






Jodi Ruderon seems to be in doubt, since she wrote this in today's New York Times:

The authorities counted 42 “riots” — participants call them protests — on a single night in July.

Now, to be fair, she at least should have encapsulated 'protests' also in quotes.

But, I wonder, what is her definition of riots that she would cast doubt on the police version?

In addition, this bit:

More than 300,000 of Jerusalem’s 830,000 residents are Palestinians. They are not citizens, but get social-welfare benefits from Israel and travel fairly freely.

is misleading.

First, if they wanted to, they could, under certain conditions, become full citizens. Their choice not to even apply. [that last section update thanks to SF]

Second, they are permanent residents of the state of Israel and have the right to vote in municipal elections but not Knesset elections. Not many do,

Hey Diddle Diddle, Fatah and the Fiddle

...Tzipi Livni’s deductive reasoning works like this: if we only pay up, the cat will ably strum jolly tunes on its fiddle, the cow will then be motivated to nimbly jump over the moon, which will persuade the dish to run away with the spoon and they shall surely all live in perfect harmony ever after.

if we only pay up, the cat
will ably strum jolly tunes
on its fiddle
[Arthur Rackham’s illustration, 1913]
Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
18 September '14..

In her authoritative clipped cadences, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni admonishes those of us who refuse to sweeten Ramallah figurehead Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah cohorts with “daring initiatives.” She sternly disapproves of Israelis who “are not willing to pay the price of a diplomatic arrangement.”

We might of course nitpick and wonder whether a diplomatic arrangement is in fact attainable. And if so, we might further press and inquire why such arrangement hadn’t already been attained.

We might point out that the moderation Livni ascribes to Abbas connotes goodwill and that a minimal supply thereof should have facilitated some arrangement long ago – long before the advent on our scene of Hamas’s religious bad-guys. Secular enemies, as per Livni’s idiosyncratic political lexicon, aren’t quite enemies – certainly not extremists or terrorists.

So why then the absence of peace? Are we to understand that she pins the blame on Israel’s supposed small-minded stinginess?

We could ask in what gospel it’s written that diplomatic arrangements (which are hardly irrevocable) must be purchased with hard territorial and strategic currency (which cannot thereafter be recovered). But since in her world Livni writes the rules, this question is unlikely to be answered.

The long and the short of Livni’s logic is that we must put all our national eggs in Abbas’s basket because she proclaims him a moderate (in comparison to the Hamas and ISIS nutcases). According to Livni’s reckoning, remuneration in full will boost Abbas – a goal to which we presumably should ardently aspire.

Once we fork over the unavoidable fee, Abbas will proceed to quash Hamas fanatics; calm Palestinian agitation; deter his determined political opponents; pave the road to compromise and coexistence; remove from the agenda the notion of inundating the Jewish state with untold millions of self-styled Palestinian refugees; unite the warring elements calling themselves Palestinian; lead the Palestinian aggregate to conciliation with the Jewish state; magnanimously promise the Jewish state security and acceptance; obligingly demilitarize both the Ramallah and Gaza bailiwicks and altogether be the harbinger of lovability and light.

Not a bad deal, eh?

Livni’s deductive reasoning works like this: if we only pay up, the cat will ably strum jolly tunes on its fiddle, the cow will then be motivated to nimbly jump over the moon, which will persuade the dish to run away with the spoon and they shall surely all live in perfect harmony ever after.

The above childhood-ditty silliness makes every bit as much sense as Livni’s outlandish speculations. Her basic presuppositions are plainly fantasist and her follow-up extrapolations are untenable.

New light shed on U.K. intel encouragement of Arab armies to invade Israel in 1948

...In this brief article, it is impossible to detail all the maneuvers and intrigues of the British Arabists in Cairo, Amman and Baghdad to instigate an Arab attack on the Jewish state. The British secret agents used almost all the “dirty tricks” in their arsenal – fear, jealousy, greed, false promises, misleading information and playing on inter-Arab rivalries – to provoke the Arab rulers into a war in Palestine....The old Arab rulers, victims of British machinations and their own ambitions, were to pay dearly. King Abdullah, Iraqi Prince-Regent Abd al-Ilah, Nuri al-Sa’id, Sulh and Nuqrashi all lost their lives. King Faruq and President Quwatli were more fortunate, losing only power.

Meir Zamir..
Haaretz..
14 September '14..

September 11, 1947. On the eve of the Arab League’s political committee meeting to decide on the Arab response to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) report [supporting the end of the British mandate and partitioning the land between Jews and Arabs], the Lebanese newspaper L’Orient published an article. “Bloc Oriental et extension de la Ligue” argued that, like the Greater Syria plan [that aimed to unite Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine], the Oriental Bloc – a French term for Britain’s planned regional defense pact – hung over the independence of Arab countries and the Arab League like the Sword of Damocles, and that its authors were one and the same: [Iraqi Prime Minister] Nuri al-Sa’id and [Jordanian] King Abdullah.

On September 20, the Lebanese newspaper Le Jour reported that after the Arab League meeting in Saoufar, Lebanon, Brig. Iltyd Clayton – whom it defined as “head of the British intelligence in the Middle East” – had left for Damascus. It quoted a Syrian newspaper speculating on whether his visit was connected to the Greater Syria scheme and the tense relations between the Syrian and Lebanese presidents (Shukri al-Quwatli and Bishara al-Khuri) and Jordan’s King Abdullah, or to events in Palestine.

On February 19, 1948, the Lebanese newspaper Le Soir published an article titled “Claytonmade.” Based on “Zionist sources,” it reported that Brig. Clayton – “architect” of the Greater Syria plan, the Oriental Bloc and the bilateral defense treaties with the Arab states – was now advocating a new scheme for the partition of Palestine. The plan proposed that : “Imperialist Lebanon will annex the Western Galilee up to Shavei Zion; Syria the northeastern part of the Galilee and part of its southern region; Egypt will have part of the cake; and Transjordan will swallow up the rest.”

In fact, these and other reports in the Lebanese press on the activities of British secret agents were part of a secret war being waged by French intelligence against the British.

Information conveyed by the French intelligence services to the Haganah [the prestate underground Jewish army] in the fall of 1947 indicated that Brig. Clayton and his assistants were involved in a new initiative to secure Britain’s strategic position in the Middle East, and linked Clayton to the escalating Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine. The sources also referred to a new partition plan proposed by Clayton, which, contradicting that of the United Nations, aimed to split Palestine between the neighboring Arab states and limit the designated territory of the Jewish state to the coastal area between Atlit [just south of Haifa] and Tel Aviv.

The French tied this initiative to renewed British efforts to implement the 1946 Morrison-Grady Plan [aka the Cantonization Plan] and warned of the danger of an attack on the Yishuv [Jewish community in Palestine] by irregular forces organized by the Arab League. They also warned that an invasion by the regular Arab armies to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state could not be ruled out.

Information passed on by the French, after the UN partition vote on November 29, 1947, was even more alarming. On January 13, 1948, Maurice Fischer – the SHAI [Haganah intelligence service] liaison officer to French intelligence – reported from Paris that, based on totally reliable information from French sources, Brig. Clayton had, on December 17, 1947, reached an understanding with Lebanese Prime Minister Riyad al-Sulh, according to which the British forces would evacuate northern Palestine and give free rein to the irregular forces of the Arab Liberation Army, headed by Fawzi al-Qawuqji, to attack Jewish settlements.

The next day, January 14, two French intelligence officers from Beirut arrived in Haifa and informed the French military attaché that the Syrian prime minister, Jamil Mardam Bey, was mobilizing an irregular force of 20,000 volunteers to invade Palestine, with tacit British agreement.

Previously, at the end of August 1947, Eliyahu Sasson – David Ben-Gurion’s chief Arabist adviser – had been called urgently to Paris. He remained until mid-September, sending information and instructions to warn Jordan’s King Abdullah and the Egyptian government that British agents were planning to provoke their countries into a war against the Jews in Palestine.

Reports in the Haganah archives from those months – where Clayton’s name figures frequently – tie the escalation in the Arab-Jewish conflict to Britain’s efforts to secure its strategic position in the Middle East. They, too, alluded to a new scheme, promoted by the British secret services in Cairo, to divide Palestine between the neighboring Arab states.

Excellent Question. What Does Hamas Really Want?

...From Hamas's perspective, war is the only way to ensure that Palestinians do not drift away from Hamas's ideology of unending confrontation and out of Hamas's political reach. Ultimately, Hamas's fantasy of displacing Israel to create a radical Islamic state in appears to remain at the heart of all its activities.

Masked Hamas members (dressed in black)
prepare to execute local Palestinians who
they claim spied for Israel, Aug. 22, 2014,
 in Gaza. Sources in the Gaza Strip revealed
that some of the executed men belonged
to PA President Mahmoud Abbas's rival
Fatah faction and had no connection with Israel.
(Image source: Reuters video screenshot)
Yaakov Lappin..
Gatestone Institute..
17 September '14..

As the dust settles in Gaza and Israel after a relatively long war, the current truce forms a good opportunity to examine the reason Hamas began their conflict this summer in the first place.

Many observers have cited Hamas's goal of lifting the Israeli security blockade around Gaza as the aim of its war. The blockade was put in place to prevent weapons from being smuggled to Hamas inside the Strip, which is already saturated with rockets and arms.

Israel's blockade only exists because Hamas has turned Gaza into a heavily harmed hornet's nest of terrorism. Hence, the idea that Hamas believed that firing thousands of rockets and attempting to send death squads into Israel through underground tunnels would somehow force Israel into easing the blockade to make attacking Israel easier seems unconvincing.

Nevertheless, the three-headed Hamas leadership – made up of Khaled Mashaal, the movement's leader in Qatari exile, and the heads of the military and political wings in Gaza -- may have believed in their ability to extort Israel into concessions through force.

What else, then, may have pushed Hamas into starting a war?

Members of Israel's defense establishment say that Hamas's deep regional isolation and growing economic distress pushed the terror organization to begin planning for a war several months ago.

After smuggling tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt's Sinai were blocked by Cairo, Hamas reached out to its arch-rival in Ramallah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and entered into a "unity" government, to try to find an alternate way for cash from the international community to reach 40,000 Hamas employees. But Abbas refused to transfer funds to Hamas.

Hamas then began planning for war with Israel. Hamas apparently hoped to capitalize on an arsenal of 10,000 rockets in Gaza, a network of cross-border tunnels for raids into Israel by Hamas death squads, and raids by Hamas's naval commando unit. But Israel's military and intelligence services rendered most of these attacks ineffective.

Gaza's terror organizations lost more than 1000 combatants, and approximately 1000 Palestinian noncombatants were also killed. More than 300,000 Gazans became internally displaced people as their homes and neighborhoods were turned into military bases by Hamas, and subsequently targeted by Israel in self-defense.

Hamas's only achievement was to be able to maintain rocket fire on Israel for two months, and score points against Israel in the international media arena.

Yet, looked at from Hamas's point of view, the war was not necessarily a total loss.