What was Hamas thinking? For over three decades, it has had the same brutal idea of victory

by Madison Thomas
Hamas Strategy

The thought processes of Hamas in recent years have raised significant questions. For more than three decades, Hamas has adhered to a unswerving and brutal pursuit of its vision of victory. Originating as an underground militant group, it has consistently employed a violent strategy aimed at dismantling Israeli rule, despite the immense suffering endured by both Palestinians and Israelis as a result.

However, the recent audacious incursion into Israel over the weekend stands as its most deadly gambit to date. In response, Israel has launched an unprecedented retaliatory campaign, which threatens to bring an end to Hamas’s 16-year rule over the Gaza Strip. This brutal cycle of violence, with over 1,200 casualties in Israel and dozens taken hostage in Gaza, is poised to inflict even more death and devastation upon the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in the enclave.

Hamas officials assert their readiness for any scenario, including a protracted conflict, and suggest that allies like Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah might join the fray if Israel escalates further. The situation is highly uncertain, with various potential outcomes being considered.

Tahani Mustafa, a Palestinian analyst at the Crisis Group, aptly notes, “I don’t think anyone really knows what the endgame is at the moment.” However, given the extensive planning behind the assault, it’s difficult to imagine that Hamas hasn’t contemplated every possible scenario.

Shaul Shay, an Israeli researcher and retired colonel, believes that Hamas “miscalculated” Israel’s response and may face a much graver conflict than anticipated.

Hamas’s journey from an upstart insurgency in the late 1980s to its current status as a proto-state has been marked by unwavering commitment to armed struggle and the destruction of Israel. Its violent actions, including suicide bombings and attacks during the peace process and the second Palestinian uprising, caused considerable loss of life among Israeli civilians.

Yet, as the violence subsided in 2005, Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza, a move that Hamas claimed as a victory. Subsequently, Hamas gained political power and survived through four wars, consistently expanding its arsenal of rockets and building a functional government in Gaza.

While Hamas blamed Israel for the destruction, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank adopted a different approach, recognizing Israel and renouncing armed struggle. However, peace talks repeatedly faltered, and Israeli settlement expansion continued unabated, effectively undermining the prospects of a two-state solution.

The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, faced powerlessness in the face of these challenges. It’s worth noting that despite the Palestinian leadership’s conciliatory stance, they achieved little in terms of tangible progress.

The recent escalation represents an unprecedented shift in Hamas’s approach, moving away from any semblance of political engagement and embracing open-ended violence as a long-term strategy, as noted by Hugh Lovatt, an expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

For Israel, achieving a clear victory in Gaza appears increasingly elusive. A ground offensive could lead to a prolonged and bloody counterinsurgency, with no guarantee of uprooting Hamas entirely. Additionally, Hamas holds hostages, including women and children, which could complicate matters further.

The situation remains fluid, with potential outcomes ranging from an internationally mediated truce to a return to the status quo, with Hamas in control of a devastated Gaza and heightened Israeli security measures along its border. In the eyes of Hamas, even such a return to the previous state of affairs could be perceived as a victory.

The complexity of this situation and its potential consequences underline the gravity of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hamas Strategy

What is the historical background of Hamas’s strategy?

Hamas emerged as an underground militant group in the late 1980s, committed to armed struggle and the destruction of Israel. It intensified violence during the peace process in the 1990s and the second Palestinian uprising in 2000.

How did Hamas respond to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005?

Hamas claimed Israel’s unilateral withdrawal as a vindication of its approach and subsequently won a landslide victory in Palestinian elections. In 2007, it violently seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority.

How has Hamas evolved over the past 16 years?

Despite facing four wars and numerous clashes with Israel, Hamas has grown more powerful. It expanded its rocket arsenal, built a functional government in Gaza, and secured some easing of the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt.

What was the Palestinian leadership’s approach during this period?

The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank recognized Israel and renounced armed struggle over three decades ago. However, peace talks repeatedly broke down, and Israeli settlement expansion continued, stalling progress towards a two-state solution.

What’s the significance of Hamas’s recent shift towards open-ended violence?

Hamas’s recent move away from political engagement in favor of sustained violence represents a significant departure from its previous approach. This shift has raised questions about its long-term strategy in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

What are the potential outcomes of the current conflict between Hamas and Israel?

The situation is highly uncertain, with possibilities ranging from an internationally mediated truce to a return to the status quo. Achieving a clear victory for either side remains a challenging prospect, given the complexities of the conflict.

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NewsJunkie88 October 12, 2023 - 2:28 am

Hamas, Israel, conflikt. So sad. Hop they find a peaseful solutn soon.

HistoryBuff22 October 12, 2023 - 6:58 am

Its crazy how things hv evolved ovr time. Hamas, from militant group 2 proto-state. The Midl East is alwys complex.

CuriousCat October 12, 2023 - 12:31 pm

Wondring wht will hapen next. Need 2 folow this stori closely.

Reader123 October 12, 2023 - 7:05 pm

wow this artikl is so informtiv. I nvr knw much bout Hamas b4, bt this realy helps undrstand their history n whts goin on now.


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