The Politics of The Gaza Attacks

I’m always amused by how eager people are to sensationalize their enemies as blood thirsity mad men who only want to bring wanton destruction to the world.

In reality, like most things, most of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can be explained by politics. And like Tip O’neil famously noted. “All politics is local”.

“The first question is why Hamas chose to end the truce, opening the door to an Israeli attack. The answer might lie in the fact that Palestinian elections are coming up. While Hamas was a pure opposition party, it was an effective critic of Fatah’s governance. But having been responsible for Gaza for a while, Hamas now bears criticism for the conditions there, and thus the party’s popularity had slipped. Having failed to make significant inroads into the West Bank — where Fatah dominated — and having drawn criticism for its administration in Gaza, Hamas saw its momentum blunted.

Hamas was much more effective as a combat party, fighting the Israelis, than as an administrative party dealing with the intractable problem of Gaza. The longer it remained passive toward the Israelis and the longer it remained responsible for Gaza, the less it was likely to appeal to Palestinian voters. Hamas made a strategic decision to re-establish its credentials as the only Palestinian force effectively fighting Israel. In doing so, it also reinforced the perception of Fatah as collaborating with the Israelis (and an Israeli attack is also a mechanism to prompt Palestinians to rally behind Hamas). From Hamas’ point of view — facing a hopeless situation governing Gaza and a showdown with Fatah — ending the truce made sense in the long term, on the premise that a conventional attack by Israel would not decisively break Hamas’ capability.”

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