Hamas and Islamic Jihad Are Coordinating a Terror War

Yesterday, an Israeli was stabbed at the tomb of the patriarchs in Hebron. The night before, a Palestinian mob destroyed the shrine known to Jews as the tomb of Joseph. On Thursday, a Palestinian opened fire at a bar in downtown Tel Aviv, killing three and wounding several others—of whom six remain in the hospital as of yesterday morning. These attacks were just the latest in a spate of stabbings, shootings, and car-rammings throughout Israel, most of which were foiled, and some of which proved deadly. Udi Dekel points to the causes of this uptick in bloodshed, and Jerusalem’s efforts to combat it:

We are in the midst of a murderous terror campaign, whose main orchestrator is Hamas in close coordination with Palestinian Islamic Jihad; four coordination meetings have recently taken place in Beirut between Salah al-Aruri—in charge of Hamas’s military operations in the West Bank, and Ziyad a-Nahala—general-secretary of Islamic Jihad. The purpose of this campaign is to unite the fronts of the Palestinian struggle against Israel into a comprehensive arena and encompass the activities of the various factions. At the same time, this deployment aims to increase and to accelerate the undermining of Palestinian Authority control over the West Bank, as is evident in the Jenin area, which is controlled by terrorist elements.

In recent months, Hamas has run an intensive incitement campaign, especially in advance of Ramadan—a time when religious and national sentiments are heightened—targeting Palestinian youth and adults alike, . . . regardless of their organizational affiliation. The campaign encourages self-sacrifice in the name of a sublime religious-national goal, and it is supposed to be the first in a three-stage escalation: the first one, shooting attacks by individuals in Israeli cities, has so far been noticeably successful. The second involves igniting Jerusalem and the West Bank following the success of the attacks and due to Israel’s [expected] harsh response.

The third [stage] is conditioned on the success of the second phase and on Israel’s response—widespread escalation in the West Bank and Jerusalem will give Hamas legitimacy to provoke a confrontation with Israel, through rocket and missile launches from the Gaza Strip.

Israel, for its part, is pursuing policies and actions designed to disrupt the Hamas plan. The government is acting wisely as it seeks to separate the Palestinian population in the West Bank from the terrorists in its midst and allow the Palestinian public as much of a routine as possible, including adhering to its intention of providing relief [from restrictions on travel and so forth] during Ramadan.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict