Two observations about the hostilities that began on Nov. 10:
An Israeli soldier works on the IDF's Facebook page.
(2) If Hamas knows it cannot defeat the Israel Defense Forces and will get a bloody nose for its efforts, it obviously has motives other than victory in mind. What might those be? Several come to mind:
- Test the waters in the aftermath of Barack Obama's reelection.
- Rouse public opinion against Israel and make it pay a price internationally.
- Refute accusations by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that it has abandoned "resistance."
- Remind the Palestinian Authority, as it seeks statehood at the United Nations, who controls Gaza.
- Rile up Israeli Arabs.
- Preempt Egyptian plans to destroy Gaza tunnels, as Cairo cannot be seen helping Israel in a time of crisis.
(November 15, 2012)
Nov. 16, 2012 update: Readers have suggested a number of other incentives for Hamas to absorb a pounding by the IDF, which I list here along with my responses:
- Distract attention from the Iranian nuclear buildup or the civil war in Syria. But this distraction will last for days or weeks, while the Iranian and Syrian crises last years, so I don't see that it brings significant benefits.
- Helps Netanyahu in the elections, thereby lessening Labor's prospects and the possibility of an agreement with the Palestinian Authority. That makes good sense but strikes me as a bit too Machiavellian for an organization, Hamas, under acute stress.
- Test the level of Egyptian support. Useful information, but is it worth getting bloodied for this?
- Pushed into hostilities by Egypt's new Islamist president, who sees his role in ending the fighting as a way to enhance his reputation and win new funding. Too risky a path for a government facing dire economic problems.