Hamas Expected Israeli Restraint. It Got Something Else

The IDF’s takeover of al-Shifa hospital is a sign of the speed at which the ground offensive has thus far progressed—although many challenges await, and the hostages have not yet been freed. But Israel’s relative success raises an obvious question: what did Hamas expect to happen, and what did it hope to achieve in the October 7 attacks? Now that some of the terrorist group’s plans and documents have been seized, a better sense is emerging. Yossi Kuperwasser explains:

Hamas likely believed that had Israel subscribed to a small-scale [retaliation], it could build on the success of October 7 and effect a change that would result in a new “equation” between the organization and the Jewish state. Meaning, the release of the imprisoned terrorists, lifting the blockade, and stopping the normalization process between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Hamas assessed that Israel’s weakness and its problematic relations with the United States, coupled with its inherent reluctance to pay the high price involved in a broad military operation to remove Hamas from Gaza, would ultimately prevent it from completely defeating Hamas, just like in previous flare-ups. In previous rounds, whenever the fighting ended, both sides licked their wounds, but Hamas would then quickly recover and posed a threat to the Gaza area and Israel as a whole.

All actions by Hamas, Iran and its proxies (Hizballah, the Houthis, and Shiite militias in Iraq), Qatar, and Turkey should be seen in the context of the attempt to persuade President Joe Biden to pressure Israel to stop the fighting and eventually adopt an alternative approach. This effort motivates them to create the impression that there is a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza. It is what made Hamas play a cynical game with the hostages, and this is also what has prompted the Shiite militias in Iraq to step up their actions.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security

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