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Mission Accomplished: Hamas’ regime was brought down! So what are we still doing in Gaza?

You may think that on October 7 all conceptions about Hamas crumbled, and now we understand it better. But a fundamental working assumption about Hamas has only collapsed in recent days. Israel erred because it treated Hamas as an organization whose main goal is to preserve its rule over the Gaza strip. Accordingly, the goals of the war framed: toppling the Hamas regime. 

Abstract photo of Hamas

Apparently, Hamas' rule in the Gaza Strip wasn't that important to him. Immediately following the ground invasion, Hamas lost effective governmental control in the Strip. The preparation for such a scenario in Hamas, did not include an attempt to prevent a ground invasion. In fact, Hamas’ basic premise seemed to be that such an invasion would occur and even be desirable.

Hamas made no effort to provide security to the Palestinian population as would be expected of a "state". Even In public, Hamas spokespersons claim that the tunnels were built only to fight from, not to protect the population. Furthermore, they claim that the UN and Israel are responsible for protecting and providing public services in Gaza. Hamas' political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said that Hamas needs the blood of Gaza's women, children, and elderly to " shake the situation up".

Some mistakenly believe that Hamas regrets its October 7 attack in light of the damage done to Gaza, but this is not the case. Due to our different values and priorities, it is difficult for us to understand the terrorist organization’s strategy on a fundamental level.

Hamas' goal on October 7 was to ignite the last war against Israel. This is not a war as we perceive it, i.e. a war with high intensity of fire lasting several weeks or months. It is an “open war without borders” (see here), which will last several years, be fought in multiple-arenas,  sheds Israeli blood, undermines the legitimacy of Israel in the world, arouses anti-Semitism, and ultimately exhausts, discourages, and breaks the spirit of the Israeli people. The consequences of leaving Gaza without dismantling Hamas as an organization (as opposed to its regime) would be disastrous. Hamas is an idea, but it is the connection between the idea and the organizational platform that makes it so dangerous.

Fortunately, many elements of Hamas’ vision are not being realized:

  • Israeli society, as well as the Jewish people as a whole, are showing resilience and unity.

  • The IDF is functioning better than Hamas estimated.

  • In the meantime, Iran and its affiliates are creating a very limited multiple-arena challenge.

  • Except for Jenin, the West Bank is much less agitated than Hamas had hoped.

  • The Arab citizens in Israel are reluctant to side with Hamas, and even on the contrary. What stands out in the public discourse is the shared fate with the Bedouin victims of the attack, the condemnation of the attack by the Arab elected officials and above all the reminder of the powerful alliance with the Druze.

Hence, a ceasefire is the last thing that Israel wants now.


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