In Lebanon, Hamas Prepares for Its Next War with Israel

On December 10, in a Palestinian refugee “camp” within the Lebanese city of Tyre, there was a major explosion at a mosque associated with Hamas. Despite the terrorist group’s initial claims to the contrary, the explosion came from a large cache of munitions and arms it stored beneath the house of worship. At the funeral for a Hamas operative killed in the blast, a gunfight ensued, possibly between Hamas and Fatah. These events are evidence of a much more troubling fact: the Gaza-based jihadist group has been building up its forces in Lebanon so that it can attack Israel from multiple fronts during the next war. Yoni Ben Menachem explains:

This new Hamas infrastructure was already used during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021, when their operatives fired several rockets at northern Israel. . . . Hamas’s military infrastructure in Lebanon includes several hundred Palestinian operatives in the Palestinian refugee camps and was established with the approval of Hizballah and Iran and with the blind eye of the Lebanese government.

Hamas’s working theory is that Israel should be militarily engaged on two simultaneous fronts in the event of a war on the Gaza Strip border. This would prevent Hizballah from being held responsible for attacking Israel from southern Lebanon.

The Israeli security establishment assesses that at the moment, the goal of Hamas’s military infrastructure in Lebanon is mainly to harass Israel by firing rockets in a measured manner that would not lead to war in southern Lebanon.

According to Israeli security sources, Iran is instructing Hamas operatives in southern Lebanon how to manufacture rockets and drones. Hamas’s manufacturing system in Lebanon is part of the organization’s “construction department” and includes several workshops under the command of Majed Khader, who was based in Turkey and was transferred to Lebanon last year. . . . Workshops and rockets are hidden in civilian buildings, including in residential buildings and businesses.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Hamas, Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Palestinian terror

Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion