Thoughts on Israel vs Hamas (the military dimension)

A couple points worth noting:

1)  Whats going on is  bad and sad.   But let’s be clear- Hamas wanted a fight with Israel and this is consistent with their fundamental approach to dealing with their enemy.  It is not through negotiations.   Long before the ceasefire expired, Hamas leaders were clearly saying they opposed any renewal, and wanted to go the Resistance path, not the path of negotiations (which would benefit Fatah).  However, they probably didn’t expect this extent, which leads me to my next point……..

2) Back in July, when Israel turned over Samir Quntar for the bodies of two dead IDF soldiers, the overwhelming consensus in the Arabic press, based more on sentiment and not deep strategic or military  analysis, was that this was a huge unprecedented victory for the Resistance.   I thought this was an inaccurate assessment based on a major misreading of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah and cautioned ” be_careful_what_you_wish_for.   Israel did not perform well in 06 but that shouldn’t be taken as a statement of how they will fight in every future battle.  As if they won’t make every effort to learn from their mistakes.   Hamas in my view has a widely inaccurate grasp of military power relations between Israel and the Resistance. 

3).  Israel has alot of intelligence advantages in Gaza that they didn’t have in Lebanon.   Hezbollah had 6 years to  basically operate freely in South Lebanon and prepare for War.  Because Lebanon is a sovereign country, it was harder for Israel to attack at will (unlike Gaza) and they had little intel presence in Lebanon.  Israel formally evacuated Gaza in 2006, but they still regularly intervene on raids and because of its geographical proximity to Israel proper they know it better and have easy access.    Given that they went into Lebanon in 06 with bad intel, and a poor understanding of Hezbollah position, we have to assume that every possible effort has been made since then to correct that mistake.  Its probably safe to assume that they know where the Hamas positions are. 

4)  Based on what’s happening so far, I’m wondering if Hamas feels they were maybe a bit too confident.  Why aren’t they fighting back?   In 06 Hezbollah was able to launch rockets into Israel for weeks despite the presence of attacking IDF soldiers all over S. Lebanon.  Why isn’t Hamas doing the same thing?  Hamas credibility is on the line here.  If your movement is explicitly called The Islamic Resistance Movement and you don’t resist, what kind of message does that send?  Its still early in the fighting, but if Hamas goes several days without being able to launch any attacks, than I think its probably an indication that Israel has pulled off a major victory.

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8 Responses

  1. You must really have a terrible impression of Palestinians when you say that they are just looking for a fight without any rational justification. In other words, in your view, Hamas has been just firing rockets for no reason whatsoever.

    From where I’m standing, if they have been firing rockets it has been in retaliation for Israeli attacks. You are making the Israelis look like innocent angels that wish for peace in the world. The reality is quite different, amigo. They try by all means to choke the life out of the Palestinians and then when they realize they are not getting anywhere they provoke the Palestinians with their unilateral military operations on the Strip: selected killings, bombing of homes, etc… Finally, when the people of Gaza are fed up with the nonsense and say their is no more Hudna, the Israelis vent their rage which is, by the way, easy to do with people who can’t defend themselves. If they had the rockets Hizboullah had, the Israelis would think twice before doing this.
    The article I have quoted is from 2006 just to illustrate that Israel has never stopped its mischief. Personally, the only way to handle a bully is giving him a punch in the eye. It might not be much when this bully is the Israeli government and IDF but it’s the intention that counts. My prayers are for the Palestinians: Men, women and children.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1104-26.htm

  2. I just wanted to add one more thing. Not all Israelis maintain the typical Zionist BS. Jeff Halper is an excellent example of those Israelis, a couple of whom I met in Madrid in 2007, who definitely see things under a different light.

    Here is a link:

    http://www.icahd.org/eng/news.asp?menu=5&submenu=1&item=646

  3. John,
    I didnt say Palestinians. I said Hamas. There’s a big difference.

    You are inferring too much from my words. This post was stricly limited to my opinion on the military battle. I said nothing about anything else.

  4. Rob,

    Don’t adopt the discourse of Olmert or Livni or the rest of these war criminals. The Palestinians voted Hamas and the members of Hamas are Palestinians. Do you really think that Fath is representative of the Palestinians? Can you honestly say that Mahmoud Abbas isn’t a puppet?

  5. Can you compare the honesty of Hamas as an organization compared to the corruption of Fath? Sure, if you give Hamas a monopoly of 20 years, things can change. Cases of corruption may occur. But they haven’t even been given a chance to govern.

  6. Regarding point 4; I think that Hamas is working on gaining the “moral” advantage, like they did in 2006. Isreal is not very effective in its IO campaign; Regardless if the intel supports certain actions, for instance the bombing of Islamic University, the Isreali’s lose serious points in obtaining the moral high ground. More than half this battle is an effective IO campaign. Hamas may have gotten more than it bargained for, but its not over “til the fat lady sings” and both sides are still singing!!

  7. John,
    On this point:

    “Do you really think that Fath is representative of the Palestinians? Can you honestly say that Mahmoud Abbas isn’t a puppet?”

    I think this is a big exaggaration. Its generaly true that Hamas popularily has soared in recent years, but there is still some support for Fatah. Most of the top Egyptian writers, take Fahmy Huwedi for example, even those highly critical of Egypt gov, generally argue that there are two legit sources of power within the PA Fatah and Hamas.

  8. [...] with the current bombardment of the Gaza strip this attitude might be questionable.  Rob’s thoughts about the military dimension Hamas vs. Israel were good, but lets put them in a bigger [...]

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