Gaza: A stronger Hamas will be a good outcome

Following the events in Gaza from afar gives the impression that there is a war between two states, but is this the case?

Dr. Naser al-Tamimi

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Following the events in Gaza from afar gives the impression that there is a war between two states or two armies battling on the border areas. But the truth, in my view, id that it is an unequal war; on one side there is the Israeli war machine and on the other side 1.8 million innocent civilians among them some Palestinians fighters armed with light weapons which are no match against the stronger army.

The current Israeli policy that aims to crush Hamas and relies on collective punishment and the confiscation of Palestinian lands amid tightening the blockade on the Gaza Strip will fail, I believe. This foolish policy inevitably will lead to catastrophic consequences for all, I feel.

Killing the peace camp

The Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas will be the first victim of the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip. Dangerously, I feel that large segments of the Palestinian people started to consider it (the PA) as a tool of the Israeli occupation. This is accompanied with the apparent death of the so-called peace process, which will ultimately erode the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. As a result, the Palestinian youth in the West Bank, which have become increasingly radicalized, will be looking for organizations that can challenge Israel.

There are of course some inside Palestine and Egypt who would not be happy to see the emergence of a stronger Hamas

Dr. Naser al-Tamimi

In Gaza, tightening of the blockade accompanied with Hamas’ inability to break the siege or to achieve a decisive military victory will without doubt force Hamas confront a dangerous political impasse with two difficult options: either to make political concessions or continue to live under a siege that could be even tougher than before.

The Israeli plan

From the Israeli perspective, any political concessions by Hamas may lead to a split in the the movement. Meanwhile, if Hamas stuck to its political agenda, this could lead to further political isolation and tighten the economic blockade. This situation may increase the frustration among the local populations, ultimately leading to a collision between the people of Gaza and Hamas.

In this context, I do not think it would be surprising to see some emerging jihadist movements inside Palestine challenging the powers of Fatah and Hamas alike. Eventually, the Palestinian political situation will increasingly become fragile and give the jihadists organizations a rare opportunity to penetrate the Palestinian society in a dramatic way.

Of course, there are many in Israel who may welcome these developments, because they increase the isolation of the Palestinians and deepen political divisions. It may also provide a golden opportunity for Israel to move forward with plans never dreamed of in the past.

Palestinians mini road map

Through the above analysis we can determine that several key issues need to be addressed in order to unite the Palestinians, at least at this stage. First, continue to support the Palestinian national unity government, whereby the main task will be to rebuild what was destroyed by the brutal Israeli war machine, and then prepare for Palestinian elections to choose the next members of parliament and the president. Second, the lifting of the blockade on Gaza must be a necessary condition and should not be waived under any circumstances. Finally, improve the relationship with Egypt.

There are of course some inside Palestine and Egypt who would not be happy to see the emergence of a stronger Hamas. Nevertheless, the continuation of the blockade on Gaza and a weaker Hamas will gradually tear the political fabric of Palestine and open the way for the possibility of a worse alternative with disastrous results for both the Palestinians and Egypt.


Dr Naser al-Tamimi is a UK-based Middle East analyst, and author of the forthcoming book “China-Saudi Arabia Relations, 1990-2012: Marriage of Convenience or Strategic Alliance?” He is an Al Arabiya regular contributor, with a particular interest in energy politics, the political economy of the Gulf, and Middle East-Asia relations. The writer can be reached at: Twitter: @nasertamimi and email: nasertamimi@hotmail.co.uk

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