January 15, 2009


Hamas after the Gaza war: The Hamas movement will emerge both stronger and unavoidable from Israel's assault on its Gaza heartland, says Khaled Hroub. (Khaled Hroub, 15 - 01 - 2009, OpenDemocracy)

"The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people", said Moshe Yaalon, the then Israel Defence Forces (IDF) chief-of-staff in 2002. The war launched by Israel in the Gaza strip at the end of 2008 is designed in part to force the Hamas movement too to internalise this belief. It will not and cannot work; indeed, it is my argument that the war will have the opposite effect.

After three weeks of intense and round-the-clock attacks by air, land and sea, Israel is far from achieving either its immediate aim of halting rocket-attacks from Gaza or the larger "psychological" aim enunciated by Moshe Yaalon. It has become apparent that the war itself will instead convince many more Palestinians that their ability again to withstand an assault by the fourth most powerful army in the world is a source of their power rather than their weakness.

In this, the 1.5 million Palestinians under siege in Gaza are writing a new chapter in their own uncompleted modern history. They are also demonstrating a more general lesson of warfare: that wars and armed conflicts have unexpected consequences, including often the creation of a new reality quite different from what it was launched to achieve.

In this case, the outcome of the Gaza war of 2008-09 is likely to leave Hamas stronger and with an enhanced legitimacy among the Palestinians and within the region.

Periodically releasing your frustrations by beating your dog may make you feel better, but it isn't likely to do much for the dog's behavior.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at January 15, 2009 3:21 PM
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