It is too early to make a final judgment on the result of the Israeli offensive against Gaza. However, nothing prevents us from asking direct questions regarding the seemingly endless and fruitless Israeli brutality on one hand, and on the other hand, questioning Hamas’s behavior, its political rhetoric and the enthusiasm of its supporters who urge it to “resist” cheeringly while cursing all Arabs.
The most dangerous crime currently being committed against Gaza is encapsulated in Hamas’ failure to take into consideration that Israel is a state which practices terrorism and that Arabs are busy with many issues which they consider to be more important than Gaza. Added to that, the international community is in a world of its own altogether. It’s willing to condemn crimes committed by Israel but it does not intend to take any practical measures to stop its aggression. He who encourages Hamas to resume launching rockets against Israel is ignorant of a very important matter and that is the imbalance of power between the two sides.
One cannot engage in wars with a state that only believes in using forceKhairallah Khairallah
Arabs and Palestinians have so far lost all their battles with Israel due to their failure to take into account the balance of power. Regardless of what has been said and narrated, it’s not true that they won any battle. Yes, Hamas can launch thousands of rockets towards Israel, but what will happen afterwards? Are those rockets capable of lifting the dark siege that smothers Gaza?
The deep crisis
In the end, there’s no new war which Hamas, and those behind it, can use to overcome the deep crisis that the movement is facing. It seems that Hamas thought it could embarrass Egypt and export its domestic crisis to the West Bank to eliminate the Palestinian National Authority or whatever is left of it. It turned out that this plan is both laughable and worth crying over at the same time. It resembles the plan to liberate Palestine from the river to the sea (or from the sea to the river) - there’s no difference - starting from Gaza.
He who really wants what’s good for the Palestinian people should call a spade a spade. In this case, this means that Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood organization to which it is linked, should declare themselves bankrupt. Hamas is politically bankrupt. He who knows how to lose in politics is a lot more worthy than the one who knows how to win. It’s clear that Hamas neither knows how to win nor lose. To be frank, in my opinion it is serving Israeli policy which depends on settlements for the purpose of occupying part of the West Bank, including Eastern Jerusalem.
It won’t be long before the Israeli shelling stops. Therefore, it won’t be long before the scale of the damage in Gaza, and that suffered by its residents, is revealed. It also won’t be long before Hamas will be accused of bringing destruction upon Gaza when it allowed Israel to use its weapons without taking into consideration the balance of power. Hamas forgot that some Palestinians are still homeless in Gaza even now since the 2008-2009 war.
State which uses force
One cannot engage in wars with a state that only believes in using force. This is what Hamas should have understood from the beginning. The Palestinian national reconciliation was an opportunity to avoid the war. Accepting a government headed by Dr Rami Hamdallah was tantamount to admitting that the Hamas project was over and that it was high time that the Palestinian Authority was left to deal with the crisis following the abduction and killing of the three settlers in al-Khalil.
However, it turned out that Hamas does not want to deal with the reality which led it to the Palestinian reconciliation. It seemed to prefer to engage in a confrontation with Egypt and its people. This is an indication that Hamas has reached a dead end.
Now, Hamas turns to Cairo while knowing deep down that big talk about “resistance,” flying missiles, the reopening of the Yasser Arafat airport in the Strip and the lifting of the siege is just that – talk devoid of any content. Turning to Cairo, a move which was rejected until recently, is in my opinion, a proof that the policy of resentment against Egypt is pointless.
Reducing the Palestinian cause to just being the cause of Gaza is perhaps the most dangerous move that Hamas has undertaken. Hamas escaped its domestic crisis by engaging in an incompetent confrontation with Israel and its state terrorism. With all due respect to Gaza, the Strip is not the sole Palestinian cause in my view. The cause is much bigger than Gaza, it is that of a people who seek to find a place on the map and to practice their legitimate right like any other people in the region.
The time to settle outstanding accounts is nearing. The scale of destruction in Gaza will be revealed, and it is such a large-scale destruction that it exceeds anyone’s imagination. It will be clear that abandoning the confrontation of Israel through political means, and engaging in a project based on confronting Egypt to serve Iran and other parties, only results in falling in the Israeli trap.
The power grab which Hamas orchestrated in Gaza in mid-2007 was part of a game which included spreading arms, eliminating Fatah and expelling it from the Strip with the aim of seizing power.
Hamas will, in the next few days, be able to launch more missiles and kill more Israelis. Then what? What will decide the situation on the ground is the balance of power. The balance of power is in the Palestinians’ favor politically, but militarily, it is not. It’s true that political victory is not guaranteed but what is also true is that a military loss is guaranteed and this ends any possibility of achieving a political victory in the future.
Is there anyone willing to listen and learn from past experiences? Or does Hamas think it can liberate Palestine and Jerusalem just as it liberated the Gaza Strip from Fatah in 2007?
This article was first published in Elaph on August 4, 2014.
Khairallah Khairallah is a Lebanese writer who has previously worked at Lebanon’s Annahar newspaper, he then moved to London and began writing political columns in Arabic language newspapers, including Al-Mustaqbal and Rosa El-Youssef.