The Spectacle Blog

Divining Hamas’ Intent

By on 11.19.12 | 10:32AM

Jonathan Spyer has an interesting analysis at the Weekly Standard on the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. A couple of points to comment on:

1. Spyer is right to draw attention to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as something that partly emboldened the leadership of Hamas in Gaza to renew armed hostility to Israel over the course of this year.

2. I disagree with Spyer that Hamas' decision-making constituted a "miscalculation" in his assertion that "apparently, the movement assumed that Israel shared its perspective on the changed balance of forces and would acquiesce to Hamas's allowing and participating in terror attacks on Israel’s south."

On the contrary, I would argue that Hamas was expecting that Israel would respond at some point and has all along been hoping to use the inevitable consequence -- most notably the larger number of Palestinian fatalities as opposed to Israeli losses -- to gain a propaganda victory and strengthen its position in Gaza, with one aim being to redirect the already waning support of Arab governments for Fatah and the PA towards the leadership in Gaza by inducing said governments to follow the lead of Turkey and Qatar.

None of that is to overlook the issue of internal Hamas rivalry discussed in my article today.

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