Hamas Gambled on War as Its Woes Grew in Gaza


Analysis: Why did Hamas attack Israel acknowledging the inferiority in every area.


When the war between Hamas and Israel broke out in July of this year, the Palestinian militant group severely lacked effectiveness both politically and economically; they were completely aware of their incompetency, yet they had some ambiguous reasons to attack Israel. This led the leaders to firmly stand by the belief that they had strictly nothing to lose but the life of their people, in which they did not show a great interest. It mostly seemed that the leadership was using this as an occasion to make people hear about themselves before they lost the authority and trust of their people. Their actions were similar to the simulation of a rally effect. Hamas took here what we could call a zero option: gambling that it could shift the balance with its trump cards–its arms and militants–said the New York Times.

The leaders of Palestine were clearly pouring all their resources into the military in order to fight Israel, not considering the vast majority of its people who were mired in poverty; there are over 2 million Palestinians starving and in lack of adequate medical resources. This military expansion was also the number one cause of civilian deaths, even though it allowed the political leaders to have a better strategy towards Israel by having more open access to the Egyptian frontiers, or so they believed. “There were low expectations in terms of its performance against the recent round of Israeli incursions. It`s been exceeding all expectations,” said Abdullah Al-Arian, a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar who is currently in Washington. He also said that the results are likely to come out in a far better position than in the last three years, and maybe the last decade; this is all due because of this recent attack.

Hamas had clearly been struggling in general. The constant disturbance in the region provoked the loss of its main financial and political sponsor: president Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Due to these past events, the relations between the Sunni Muslims and Shiit have weakened considerably, and the sitution is getting worse every day. The relations between Hamas and Iran has been also affected when the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was evicted and replaced with a military government. Hamas is slowing seeing its most important attributes fading away.

The country is also fighting unemployment: around 50 percent of the population is currently searching for a job to survive. When Israel tightened the borders, Hamas was powerless to do anything. The group was so handicapped that it agreed to enter into a pact with its rival party, Fatah, to form a new government. This truly demonstrates their lack of options. Yet the situation only continued to get worse when Hamas was unable to satisfy the military wing and fulfill their promises about economic progress that they mentioned earlier, in order to arouse hope within the state. The situation above led to a further division within Hamas and its allies, both internally and externally.

Hamas’s decision to attack Israel was a political game to attempt to keep a certain reputation, and show the illusion of a certain control. Its main goal in attacking Israel was to use a psychological war to mask an economic crisis. The group wanted to look strong in the eyes of its remaining supporters. The message transmitted was that Hamas was still a main player and that this fact cannot be denied. But Hamas’s gains could be short-lived if it does not deliver Gazans a better life, said the New York Times. Once again, Israel seems to have an advantage in the situation because of its large access to the borders, which will make Palestinians’ lives harder because of major commerce restrictions.

The New York Times released details about the circumstances, declaring that  Gazan civilians did not have a voice in this decision. They did not even get a vote when Hamas chose to escalate conflict or when Hamas selected areas near their homes, schools and mosques to fire rockets from the densely populated strip. Hamas apparently has a different definition of what costly really means, which is very unfortunate for the lives that are being played with.

It would be fair to question whether or not Hamas will have the same kind of political support it has had in the past to rebuild its armory or framework when the current fighting ends. There have been a multitude of efforts from diplomats in Israel, the United States, and European countries seeking to force Hamas to surrender its weapons in exchange for a cease-fire, but their demands have been constantly rejected or twisted. Hamas realized that they still need to keep a certain reputation to be able to get the funds they require from supporters such as Iran. They also knew that by ruling under “Westerners’ wish”, the support might cease, which would contribute to the end of this political party, at least to a certain extent. At this point, neither Hamas nor Israel seems to have reached a legitimate deal.

Besides keeping up a certain reputation, Hamas also used the attack on Israel to demand that Israel and Egypt open their borders, ending the restrictions on the movement of people and goods–the most immediate issue for ordinary Gazans, said the New York Times. Hamas was desperately seeking for new moves within this game of strategy. Mr. Shaban from the military wing said: “They have different priorities; don’t send rockets while we don’t have milk for our children.”